Canadians trade fire with ISIS as military waits on possible extension
Military officials planning for both an exit or an extension of mission against jihadists
Capt. Paul Forget from the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Joint Operations Command said at a technical briefing at Department of National Defence headquarters in Ottawa that CF-18s had conducted 14 airstrikes and come under fire once since the last update on their status on Jan 26.
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He said the work Canada is doing as part of an international coalition continues to affect ISIS.
"Unable to claim any significant victories in recent weeks, [ISIS] is escalating displays of public brutality in an attempt to intimidate opponents and the local population. They are also resorting to the execution of their own members for fleeing from battle."
Kenney sees continued role
Similar briefings in the past have revealed that Canadian special forces have come under fire and returned fire while helping Iraqi forces with planning work on the front lines, and Forget said Thursday the recent incident was along those same lines, without getting into details for security reasons.
Those developments led to questions from opposition parties about whether Canada's role in Iraq, which was billed as air and logistical support, has changed in the middle of the six-month mission passed by Parliament.
"The government hasn't made a final decision on an extension of the mission, we are going to be considering that shortly and then making a decision about whether or not to go back to the House of Commons to seek endorsement of an extension, and if so what the nature of that extension would be," he told host Evan Solomon.
"[ISIS] is one of the most vile political, ideological movements of our time. It represents a clear danger to us and the entire civilized world, and that's why we will continue, I believe, to play a role in combating and containing [ISIS]."
The mission's six-month deadline will be reached in the first week of April, and Forget said the military has planned for a possible extension of the mission.
"That's just prudent military planning — to be prepared to support any government initiatives," he said, adding that plans for personnel and equipment to return to Canada are also in place and both are part of their normal process.