Canada will be extending its current military contribution to the fight against Da’esh until June 30, 2017, announced Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan on March 31.
The decision “provides the Government of Canada the time required to assess the evolving nature of the fight while allowing the Canadian Armed Forces to maintain their important contributions to ongoing operations as a responsible coalition partner,” according to a Department of National Defence press release.
It is expected that the scope and mission of Canada’s contribution will remain the same with a few adjustments. Due to the recent successes in the campaign, some elements of the Canadian Special Operations Task Force have been operating in Eastern Mosul to provide advice and assistance to Iraqi Security Forces.
“Canadian military personnel will continue to play a key role in international efforts to defeat Da’esh, including aerial refueling and surveillance, intelligence, helicopter transport, medical support, and capacity building. Due to recent advances in the international campaign, Canadian Special Operations Forces elements are now advising and assisting Iraqi Security Forces in the campaign to rid Mosul of Da’esh. While the geography and partners have expanded, the mandate of training, advising, assisting, and equipping remains unchanged. The mission may change further as the situation evolves and Canadians should expect further adjustments as the situation warrants. Canadians should be proud of the multifaceted and essential contributions Canadian troops are making both in the battle for Mosul and across the theatre of operations,” said Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen. Jonathan Vance.
Overall, Canada’s contribution will remain the same. This includes: aerial refueling and surveillance capabilities; tactical helicopters; training, advising and assisting Iraqi Security Forces; capacity building for regional forces; Role 2 Medical facility; and supporting the Global Coalition with highly-skilled personnel, including intelligence support.
As of March 28, 2017, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has conducted 695 aerial refueling sorties, delivering approximately 40,800,000 pounds of fuel to Coalition aircraft; and have conducted 753 reconnaissance missions.
Since October 2014, approximately 3,600 CAF members have been deployed in the efforts against Da’esh.
“It is clear that Coalition efforts are having a real impact on the ground. Canada has made significant progress working alongside Allies and partners to help provide security and stabilize the region, but we must be ready to adapt to the changing dynamics of the conflict. With these factors in mind, Canada will continue to work with Coalition partners to identify needs and to assess how we can best contribute Canadian capabilities to dismantle and ultimately defeat Da’esh,” said Minister Sajjan.