Ottawa: Canadian fighter jets will take part in U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State militants operating in Iraq for up to six months, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday.
Harper told the House of Commons that Canada also planned to send an air-to-air refueling aircraft and two surveillance planes to the region. He did not say how many jets would take part in the campaign.
Harper said Canada would not deploy ground troops against the Islamic State group, which is also known as ISIL. The plan is subject to a vote in Parliament next week but is bound to be approved, since the ruling Conservatives have a majority.
“We intend to significantly degrade the capabilities of ISIL, specifically, its ability either to engage in military movements of scale or to operate bases in the open,” Harper said.
The United States has been bombing Islamic State and other groups in Syria for almost two weeks with the help of Arab allies, and hitting targets in neighboring Iraq since August. European countries have joined the campaign in Iraq but not in Syria.
Canada’s two main opposition parties signaled on Thursday that they might oppose the deployment, saying Harper had not given enough details of the proposed mission and could mire Canada in a long war.