As directed by the Government of Canada in February 2016, the CAF will end the conduct of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria by the 22 February, 2016. As a result, the six CF-188 Hornets, along with associated aircrew and support personnel currently deployed to the region, will return to Canada in a phased approach.
Train, Advise and Assist
The deployed CAF members are not part of a ground combat mission; their role is to participate with other coalition forces in advising and assisting the Iraqi security forces in developing their military skills. This will enable the Iraqi security forces to take the fight to ISIL and eventually remove the security threat this group brings in the country and the region.
The addition of personnel with high-demand skillsets and the delivery of critical equipment will contribute to creating the security environment necessary to deal with the threat posed by ISIL. In order to enhance the advise and assist mission, the CAF will:
- triple the number of CAF advisors to help train the Iraqi security forces in the planning and conduct of military operations against ISIL;
- deliver training on the use of military equipment (small arms) donated by the Government of Canada, in accordance with Canadian and international law;
- examine possibilities for deploying additional in-theatre aviation;
- position CAF medical personnel to provide training to regional security forces in casualty management in a battlefield context as well as to provide medical support to CAF personnel.
ISIL was founded in Iraq in October 2004 when the leader of Jamaat al-Tawhid wal-Jihad aligned with Al-Qaeda, creating what was then known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The group has also been known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamic State (IS), and Daesh.
ISIL advocates radical interpretations of Islam and claims religious authority over all Muslims. It aims to create a caliphate in the Levant region – which includes Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon, Cyprus and a part of southern Turkey – by converting or killing non-Sunni populations. Its ultimate objective is the establishment of a world-wide Islamic caliphate.
It is estimated that ISIL has between 25, 000 and 30,000 fighters in total across Iraq and Syria, of which a number are foreign recruits. The group has acquired equipment including tanks, artillery pieces and other light vehicles, mainly stolen from Iraqi and Syrian military installations.
The group began taking control of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014, starting with Fallujah in Iraq in January 2014 and culminating with the fall of Mosul in June 2014. Its rapid advance across Iraq and Syria has displaced millions of people, has undermined stability in Iraq and the region, and poses a threat to international security.
On 7 August 2014, United States President Barack Obama authorised targeted military intervention in Iraq. A United States-led coalition that includes many of Canada’s closest allies and partners, as well as important regional partners, is working to degrade ISIL.
Milestones/ Mission Timeline
- Between 28 August and 26 September 2014, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft conducted 25 flights to deliver more than 1,600,000 pounds of military supplies to Iraq.
- 28 October 2014 – All ATF-I air assets arrived in Kuwait.
- 30 October 2014 – Two CF-188 Hornets, one CP-140 Aurora and one CC-150T Polaris conducted their first missions as part of the MESF. The two CF-188 Hornets did not conduct any airstrike during this first sortie. The successful conduct of the first ATF-I missions confirmed the integration of Canadian air assets in the MESF.
- 2 November 2014 – CF-188 Hornets conducted Canada’s first combat airstrike on ISIL targets.
- 30 March 2015 – The CAF mission was formally extended for as many as 12 months and expanded into Syria.
- 8 February 2016 – The Government of Canada announced its renewed and enhanced whole-of-government approach to the fight against ISIL.
- 8 February 2016 – The Government of Canada announced that the CAF will cease airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria as of 22 February, 2016.
Delivery of military supplies to Iraq
Between 28 August and 26 September 2014, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft conducted 25 flights to deliver more than 1,600,000 pounds (725,000 kilograms) of military supplies to Iraq. The donations from allied countries included small arms, ammunition and other military equipment. The supplies were delivered in concert with military partners including the United Kingdom and the United States, to security forces working in Baghdad and Erbil.
The actual incremental costs related to Op IMPACT for fiscal year 2014-15 totaled approximately $70 million. This total comes from the estimate of up to $122 million provided by government earlier this year.
This figure, which encompassed mission start until 31 March 2015, will be reported in the 2014-15 Departmental Performance Report (DPR).
Given the current fiscal year ends on March 31st 2016, the actual total incremental expenditures for this fiscal year cannot be fully confirmed at this time.