Operation IMPACT is the Canadian Armed Force’s support to the Middle East Stabilization Force, the multinational coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Republic of Iraq.
Canada’s CF-18s conducted their first combat strike since joining the fight against ISIL on October 30. Coordinated with our coalition partners, two CF-18s attacked ISIL targets with GBU12 500 lb laser guided bombs in the vicinity of Fallujah, Iraq. The approximately four-hour mission included air-to-air refuelling from Canada’s Polaris aircraft. All aircraft returned safely to their base.
“The strike demonstrates our Government’s firm resolve to tackle the threat of terrorism and to stand with our allies against ISIL’s atrocities against innocent women, children and men,” said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was founded in Iraq in October 2004 when the leader of Jamaat al-Tawhid wal-Jihad aligned with Al-Qaeda, creating what was then known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
In 2013, the group was renamed ISIL and is commonly referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State (IS).
ISIL is an extremist militant group advocating radical interpretations of Islam and claims religious authority over all Muslims. It aims to create a caliphate in the Levant region, which includes Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and a part of southern Turkey by converting or killing non-Sunni populations.
ISIL’s ultimate objective is the establishment of a world-wide Islamic caliphate, or state led by a supreme religious leader.
It is estimated that ISIL has between 20,000 and 30,000 fighters in total across Iraq and Syria, of which 15,000 are foreign recruits. The group has acquired equipment including tanks, artillery pieces and other light vehicles, mainly stolen from Iraqi and Syrian military installations.
The group began taking control of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014, starting with Fallujah in Iraq in January 2014 and culminating with the fall of Mosul in June 2014. Its rapid advance across Iraq and Syria has displaced millions of people, has undermined stability in Iraq and the region and poses a threat to international security.
As a result, a United States led coalition that includes many of Canada’s closest allies and partners, as well as important regional partners, is conducting targeted airstrikes to degrade ISIL.
One Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CC-130J Hercules transport aircraft and one CC-177 Globemaster III strategic airlifter were committed to transport military supplies donated by allies. More than 80 Canadian Armed Forces personnel were deployed, including air crew, ground crew and logistical support personnel. The aircraft, along with those of contributing allies, worked from staging locations in the Mediterranean and in Eastern Europe.
“I thank all our men and women in uniform for their work on this important mission,” said Nicholson.The supplies came from the Republic of Albania and the Czech Republic and included small arms, ammunition and other military equipment. The supplies were delivered in concert with military partners including the United Kingdom and the United States, to security forces working in Baghdad and Erbil.
Between 28 August and 26 September 2014, 25 flights were successfully completed, delivering more than 725,000 kilograms of military supplies to Iraq.