TORONTO – Canada plans to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State militant group in Iraq following a U.S. request and may extend airstrikes into Syria if invited by President Bashar Assad’s government, the prime minister announced Friday.
Stephen Harper said the motion authorizes airstrikes in Iraq for up to six months and explicitly states that no ground troops be used in combat operations.
“We will strike ISIL where, and only where, Canada has the clear support of the government of that country. At present, that is only true in Iraq,” said Harper, referring to the Islamic State by one of its acronyms.
The new combat mission includes up to six CF-18 fighter jets, a refueling tanker aircraft, two surveillance planes and one airlift aircraft. About 600 airmen and airwomen will be involved.
Canada is among dozens of countries that have signed up for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.
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