Canada will continue training of Kurdish militia to 2019

Vastavam web: Canada will continue to train Kurdish militia for another two years as part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq, the defense minister announced today.The mission extension is the third in as many years, and Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan left open the possibility of ramping up the offensive, saying the military would “deploy capabilities as needed.” “As the situation evolves, coalition allies and partners must remain flexible and adapt to changing threats.”

Implicit in the announcement is a rejection of accusations by opposition parties that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has been waging a secret war in Iraq without parliamentary approval.”I can tell you that defending our allies in the coalition has been an integral part of our mission,” Trudeau said on Tuesday.”This is completely in keeping with our responsibilities as Canadians, as members of the coalition in northern Iraq and it will continue to be that way,” he said. Trudeau’s Liberals withdrew six Canadian fighter jets from the coalition in 2016, fulfilling a campaign promise, but tripled the number of military trainers in Iraq to 210.Hundreds of ground personnel were also deployed to support two surveillance aircraft and a refueling jet, as well as a handful of tactical helicopters.