Canada has flown its last raid in Syria

Fulfilling campaign promise, Trudeau switches tactics pulling out of airstrikes but adding instructors to train Kurdish militias.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canadian F-18 fighter jets have flown their last raids against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, fulfilling the promise made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, authorities said Wednesday.

The final airstrikes were against an ISIS "fighting position in the vicinity of Fallujah," Iraq, a Defense Ministry statement said. The planes flew their last sortie on Sunday, it added.

In place of the six F-18 fighter jets, Ottawa said it would triple the number of special forces training Kurdish militia in northern Iraq to about 210.

Canadian CC-150T Polaris refueling and CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft would continue to play roles in the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, it said.

The withdrawal of Canada's warplanes, a campaign promise made by Trudeau in the run-up to October legislative elections, is seen as a symbolic blow against unity in the US-led coalition bombing the IS group in Iraq and Syria.

In an interview with Global News in January, Trudeau argued that the greatest threat to ISIS is a tremendously open and diverse society in which Muslims and other minorities are fully integrated into mainstream secular society, and that compatibility between extraordinary diversity and a successfully safe society is Canada’s greatest strength and that that is what needs to be highlighted.

“We need to ensure that our intelligence community and our police services have the tools necessary to locate threats to Canadians. But anytime you are giving more resources to the intelligence agencies and the police, you need to bring in more oversight on those agencies to make sure that those powers are being properly used and not damaging our free society, and to make sure that they are doing everything they can to me Canadians safe.”

Trudeau said that “Canada is committed to having a military engagement in the fight against ISIL (ISIS) but in a helpful and substantive way. We have made the decision that we will pull out the CF-18’s and ending the bombings that Canada has been involved in, and we will be doing something else.”

Trudeau said that Canada’s effort will likely revolve more around training local forces to take up the fight against ISIS and fight to get their homes back.

“We are in discussions with experts and with our allies to see how best Canada can help. We know that we can’t expect Western forces to come in and prevent ISIL [another term for ISIS] from prospering. We know that whenever Western forces have engaged in this area, it may have helped out in the short term but it created complications decades later that we are now dealing with. The principle we need to deal with is that the best people to take back their homes from these terrorists, are the people who fled these homes, and the local armies and the local militias. We need to give them the tools to actually do the fighting on the ground. That is not just a path for a short term success but for a longer term of success.”

AFP contributed to this report