Canada Extends and Expands Anti-ISIS Airstrikes

One-year extension to March 2016 on strikes that may enter Syria as well, although no boots on the ground according to the plan.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Jet in strikes on ISIS (file)
Jet in strikes on ISIS (file)

Canadian airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Iraq will be extended one year to March 2016 and may see sorties into Syria, the government said Tuesday.

But no ground combat troops would be deployed under the plan, which is to be debated in parliament Thursday, reports AFP.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper read a motion in the House outlining the mission add-on. With his Conservative majority, the motion is assured of

The original military mission started in November with Canadian war planes joining US-led airstrikes on Islamic State jihadists.

Canada also deployed about 70 special forces troops to train Kurds in northern Iraq.

A clash mid-January in which the Canadians came under mortar and machine gun fire while training Iraqi troops near the front lines, as well as the March 6 friendly fire death of a Canadian soldier, have underscored political divisions in Ottawa over the fight against ISIS.

The opposition has accused Harper of lying when he first outlined parameters of the mission to parliament in October, which were supposed to limit ground forces to a non-combat role.

But the prime minister has stood firm - backed by polling that shows a majority of Canadians support the mission in the aftermath of two Islamist terror attacks in Ottawa and rural Quebec the same month.