The Canadian Government has introduced a motion in the House of Commons to extend and expand the country’s contribution to the global fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Sponsored by the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, the motion seeks the approval of parliament to extend the Canadian Military mission, known as Operation Impact, by up to one year, until 30 March 2016.
The expanded mandate would include deployment of Canadian CF-188 Hornet fighters to join coalition partners launching airstrikes against ISIL militants within Syria.
The government insists that the mission would remain a counter-terrorism operation and will not involve participation in ground combat operations.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said: "I believe that Canadians realise that we cannot stand on the sidelines while ISIL commits atrocities in the Middle East and promotes terrorism in Canada and against our allies.
"We are therefore seeking the support of Canadian parliamentarians for our decision to extend and expand Canada’s military mission, with our allies, to fight Islamic jisadism which threatens national and global security.
"We intend to continue to degrade and disrupt ISIL as well as provide humanitarian and stabilisation support to help alleviate the suffering this terrorist group is inflicting."
The motion is scheduled to be debated and voted in the House of Commons in the coming days.
As part of Operation Impact, Canada has already deployed up to 69 Special Operations Forces personnel to advise and assist Iraqi forces in northern Iraq, alongside a key aerial enabler force package consisting of 280 aircrew and other personnel, one CC-150 Polaris aerial refuelling aircraft, and up to two CP-140 Aurora aerial surveillance aircrafts.
A strike force package comprising 320 aircrew and other personnel, and up to six CF-188 Hornet fighters has also been sent to target ISIL, which is estimated to have between 20,000 and 30,000 fighters across Iraq and Syria, of which 15,000 are foreign recruits.
As of 22 March, the Canadian air assets have conducted a total of 662 sorties over Iraq.
In addition to this, the country continues to provide humanitarian support in Iraq to help alleviate the suffering caused by the terrorist organisation since June 2014.
Image: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduces motion to extend and expand Canada’s military contribution to fight against ISIL. Photo: courtesy of the Canadian Prime Minister.