WASHINGTON – The commander of military operations against the so-called Islamic State group says there is a “good potential” he will need more U.S. and coalition forces to ramp up the fight as it extends across Iraq and Syria.
Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland is telling Pentagon reporters that he is working on ways to increase pressure on the Islamic State militants, and some options may require more troops on the ground to assist local Iraqi or Syrian forces. He would not detail whether those would be trainers or combat troops.
He says that while Iraqi leaders didn’t accept the offer of U.S. Apache helicopters during the ultimately successful fight for Ramadi, they may decide to use the aircraft in a later battle.
Canada is a member of the international coalition fighting the so-called Islamic State, but the Trudeau government plans to follow through with a campaign promise to pull Canadian fighter jets from the air combat mission and turn its military attention to other aspects of the mission.
In a weekend interview with Vassy Kapelos on Global’s The West Block, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan dodged repeated questions about the nature, scope and timing of Canada’s revised mission, saying it’s too soon to make the information public.
Sajjan also refused to say if the specifics of the mission would be ready in time for the next meeting of anti-ISIS coalition partners on Feb. 10.
With files from Monique Muise
© 2016 The Canadian Press