ISIS mission: Canada conducts 1st airstrike in Syria
Airstrike hit ISIS garrison, according to Defence Minister Jason Kenney
The Canadian military conducted its first airstrike on an ISIS target in Syria today, according to the Department of National Defence.
Two Canadian CF-18s were involved in the airstrike against an ISIS garrison near Raqqa, Syria, the department said in a release. Raqqa is about 160 kilometres east of the embattled city of Aleppo.
The department added that the Canadian Armed Forces aircrew and aircraft have safely returned to base.
A total of 10 coalition aircraft, including six from the U.S., took part in the airstrike. The nationality of the two remaining aircraft was not disclosed.
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It follows the Conservative government's decision to extend and expand the Canadian military's contribution to the U.S.-led coalition against the jihadist organization.
MPs voted last week to support a government motion to extend Canada's involvement until March 2016 and to expand its role to include bombings over Syria. Most opposition MPs voted against the motion.
Although this was the first airstrike in Syria since the mission expansion, the department noted, it was not the first air sortie. Three sorties have taken place since the government's decision to expand the mission.
The sorties provide opportunities to assess new areas of operation, the department said.
Since last September, only the U.S. and at least three Persian Gulf countries had been bombing in Syria, which has been riven by a brutal four-year civil war.
None of Canada's Commonwealth allies, including Britain and Australia, are engaged in airstrikes in Syria.
The last reported strikes of Canadian jets came on April 4, when they hit targets west of Mosul, in northern Iraq, where extremists had established a roadside bomb-making facility.
Today's <a href="https://twitter.com/RCAF_ARC">@RCAF_ARC</a> / coalition air strike hit an ISIL garrison near Ar Raqqah. Canada is helping to ensure that ISIL has no safe haven.—@jkenney
With files from The Canadian Press