Canadian forces help fight off 'significant' ISIL attack in northern Iraq
Canadian forces help fight off 'significant' ISIL attack in northern Iraq

Canadian forces help fight off ‘significant’ ISIL attack in northern Iraq

Members of Canadian special forces traded fire with Islamic State militants and helped Kurdish fighters repel a heavy attack near the strategically-important Iraqi city of Mosul overnight on Wednesday.

Canadians on the ground laid down supporting fire against the militants to defend friendly forces during a combat operation that began Wednesday and stretched into Thursday, Maj.-Gen. Charles Lamarre, director of staff, strategic joint staff, told a briefing Thursday night.

As Kurdish forces moved forward to retake terrain, they came under fire. “Our guys were close enough and able to respond with fire onto those ISIL positions,” Lamarre told the briefing at defence headquarters, using another term for Islamic State.

As well, an airstrike by two CF-18s, due to be pulled out of action in the coming weeks, was also key to help re-establish the front-line defence, he said. The fighters were already in the air and were called in to strike the targets.

Local media reports in Irbil claim Kurdish forces have repelled the coordinated assaults in five locations – Nawaran, Bashiqa, Tel Aswad, Khazr and Zardik.

A statement from Kurdistan Regional Security Council said “car bombs and mortars and rockets” were used to open up each attack and they were followed up by Islamic State fighters.

In one area – Nawaran – extremists set off nine car bombs, according to local reports.

The size and scale of the offensive seems to have taken both the Kurds and the American-led coalition by surprise, especially at time when U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter was telling Kurdish media in Iribil that plans for the recapture of Mosul were proceeding.


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