The United States is asking European countries to supply arms and ammunition to Kurdish forces fighting jihadists of the Islamic State in Iraq, U.S. and European officials said, signaling a widening of the international role in the conflict.

The United States has requested the arms in telephone calls with several European countries, the U.S. officials said, seeking help for Peshmerga fighters of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region who are struggling against better-armed militants of the self-styled Islamic State.

Several European countries announced on Wednesday plans to send arms or ammunition:France will supply arms “in the coming hours” in response to a request from Iraq’s Kurdish leadership, President Francois Hollande’s office said. It did not say what kinds of weapons France would provide. […]