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Over 20 Combat Engineers join CAF personnel in Iraq for bomb disposal training

Approximately 20 Canadian Army Engineers from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment have deployed to Iraq in the last couple of months to deliver explosive threat training to Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in Besmava, Iraq, announced the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on Friday, Nov. 17.

“Daesh heavily polluted a lot of areas with improvised explosive devices when they were occupying them, when they were defending them, and when they withdrew from them. It’s quite appalling. There are areas where families would like to move back into,” said BGen. Dan MacIsaac, Commander of Joint Task Force-Iraq.

According to MacIsaac, there are still upwards of 650,000 people still displaced out of Mosul, Iraq because of the remnants of war.

“There’s still a lot of rubble there, a lot of explosive remnants of war and a lot of improvised explosive devices,” noted MacIsaac.

Canada’s bomb disposal training is being conducted alongside other NATO countries and will take place within the classroom and in the field until spring 2018.

Learning to deal with the threat of IED, says MacIsaac, is valuable for the ISF in stabilizing the country.

Additionally, the CAF has also deployed a second CC-130J Hercules aircraft from 8 Wing Trenton, it will further enhance Canada’s contribution to Coalition air mobility operations, transporting personnel and cargo within the region.

The CP-140 Aurora will conclude its three-year mission in support of Coalition Forces when it returns to Canada this December.

To-date the ISF, along with Coalition Forces, has liberated 103,000 square kilometres of land, equal to the size of Ontario, from Daesh’s hold. This week alone Coalition Forces have managed to liberate 3,398 square kilometres, said MacIsaac.

Approximately, seven million people have been liberated.

Consequently, Daesh has a less of a hold on infrastructure, resources and oil fields it generated revenue from.

“A lot of hard work has been done here, mostly through partner forces and especially ISF. It’s not just hard work, the ISF fought and died for their country and liberated their own people. It’s quite a significant accomplishment,” commented MacIsaac.

However, according to the JTF-Iraq Commander, a lot of work is still needed to be done to completely defeat Daesh.

This is especially critical as the advise and assist mission of 200 Canadian special forces troops remains on hold because of increased tensions between the central government in Bagdad and the Kurds, who are hoping for independence.

The tensions, however, have not effected JTF-Iraq in any way.

JTF-Iraq and the soldiers that fall within its branch are mandated by the Government of Canada to continue in their current mission until March 31, 2019.

MacIsaac says he is proud to command the strong and diverse team that is deployed with him under Operation IMPACT.

“It’s a diverse team that truly represents the quality and world-class people we have in the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Army, and the Navy, the special forces. We’re working well together.

“I thank the families for their support, and I promise to do my best to take care of people,” said MacIsaac.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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