US reaches out to allies to boost Iraq aid

White House and State Department officials on Friday met to discuss how to solicit and coordinate assistance from other countries to aid the U.S. effort against Islamic militants in Iraq.

"Many of our partners have come to us and asked how they can help and we are putting them in touch with appropriate Iraqi officials because there really are dire needs," Brett McGurk, the deputy assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, told MSNBC.

McGurk would not confirm that the White House was asking other countries to join in airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after President Obama authorized U.S. military action Thursday night. He did say that the U.S. was asking its allies to help bolster Iraqi and Kurdish forces battling the al Qaeda offshoot.

"We are coordinating all that now as we speak," McGurk said. "We had a meeting at the White House today to coordinate all of this in terms of the regional efforts to ensure that any regional partner that is willing to help with supplies, with ammunition, with equipment that they do so in a coordinated fashion. And we welcome that support."

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said any requests for military aid would be shared with allies "directly.” He said the U.S. would continue to "consult with them in the days ahead" no matter their role.

"There are, of course, other partners in the region that the United States has worked with on a variety of issues to try to confront this and other challenges and the broader instability in the region," Earnest said. "We certainly will be in touch with them as — you know, as we confront the ongoing situation in Iraq."

Earlier Friday, the White House allowed reporters to observe President Obama speaking over the phone with King Abdullah of Jordan. A senior administration official also said Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken to his counterparts in Jordan, France, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

The United Kingdom said Friday that it would not join the U.S. in additional military action but planned to airlift food aid.

"We welcome what America is doing in particular to bring humanitarian relief and to prevent any further suffering,” British defense chief Michael Fallon told the BBC.

“But our focus is on assisting that humanitarian mission, using our military in support of the Americans in terms of refueling and surveillance, and add to it with food drops with our own," he added.

This story was updated at 2:20 p.m.