Canada says it will end its contribution to the ongoing bombing campaign by the US-led coalition against what is claimed to be Daesh positions in Iraq and Syria, saying such airstrikes will not bring long-term stability to the Middle East.
On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa would stop its air raids as part of the US-led coalition no later than February 22, and that the country’s six fighter jets would be pulled from the bombing mission.
The premier said the airstrikes “do not on their own achieve long-term stability for local communities,” stressing the need for “a political solution” to the crises in Syria and Iraq.
Trudeau added, however, that Canada will increase the number of its special forces in Iraq to “train” the local troops” fighting Daesh terrorists.
The number of military personnel Canada is contributing to the mission in Iraq and Syria will increase to 830 from the current 650 while Ottawa will remain a member of the coalition until March 2017, according to Trudeau.
He estimated that Canada will be spending more than US$1.15 billion (CA$1.6 billion) on the mission as a whole.
In a similar stance, Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance also said “this is exactly the right time” to stop the bombing campaign.
The US-led coalition first began its so-called anti-Daesh air strikes in Iraq in 2014 and expanded the campaign to neighboring Syria later that year. The strikes have done little to dislodge the Takfiri terrorists.
Many of the parties to the same alliance have been among the supporters of terror groups operating against the Damascus government since March 2011.
A recent report published by the Soufan Group, a New York-based think tank which provides strategic and security intelligence services, said around 130 Canadian nationals have so far joined the ranks of terror groups in Syria and Iraq.