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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Canada's War against ISIS to expand to Syria

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has asked the Canadian Parliament to support a motion that will be put forward to debate on Thursday March 26, 2015 to extend and expand Canada's current support for Op IMPACT. PM Harper has asked for a 1 year extension through March of 2016, and an expansion of the RCAF Air campaign into neighbouring Syria.

The current mission is set to end on April 7, 2015. Both opposition parties have responded with their disapproval of the motion, and have clearly said they will not support the mission. The NDP says they will pull the plug on the military mission if they get elected. This is despite the fact a majority of Canadians support the mission. With the Conservative majority - the vote is expected to be the same as it was last fall when the Conservatives all voted in favour of the mission. The debate on Thursday will be symbolic if little else.

PM Harper clearly outlined that they will not ask for Syrian permission to invade its airspace, but follow the lead of the US who are currently the only coalition member bombing ISIS targets in Syria. The RCAF will be able to target ISIS's heavy equipment which has been moved out of Iraq to hide from coalition strikes. Canada will become the first Coalition member to bomb targets alongside the US in Syria.

Last Friday in was announced the CF-18s had bombed two more ISIS positions in Iraq, a weapons facility and a fighting position.

Defence Minister Jason Kenney said late last night that the RCAF is looking to increase the number of air strikes possible, which will be possible in Syria, as several other nations are also bombing ISIS targets in Iraq, leaving few for Canadian fighters.

No details we given whether an increase in air-strikes means an increase in the number of CF-18s in the region will increase, or what the increase in flight time means for the governments current life extension of the CF-18s through 2025.

The expansion of the RCAF air campaign into Syria will not include Canada's 69 Special forces members who are currently training Kurdish forces in Northern Iraq.

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Two RCAF CF-18's taxi in Kuwait before their next mission, January 2015.
Photo: Op IMPACT CF Combat Camera