TORONTO – The Canadian military has conducted its first airstrike in Syria Wednesday against an Islamic State group target, according to the Department of National Defence.
Two CF-18 Hornets, using precision-guided munitions, participated in a bombing raid on an ISIS base near Ar-Raqqah, located in northwest Syria, the department said in a release.
A total of 10 coalition aircraft, including six from the U.S., took part in the airstrike.
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A senior government source told Global News, U.S.-led coalition forces launched the attack on the base after it became clear Syrian government forces were either unable or unwilling to initiate their own offensive against ISIS forces.
“This first airstrike under the expanded mandate demonstrates our Government’s firm resolve to tackle the threat of terrorism against Canada and to promote international security and stability,” Minister of National Defence Jason Kenney said in a release.
Defence Minister Jason Kenney confirmed on Twitter that CF-18s struck an ISIS base in Ar-Raqqah.
This is the first time Canadian fighter jets have participated in a bombing campaign in Syria since the House of Commons voted to expand Canada’s military mission against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
MPs voted 142-129 last week to extend Canada’s involvement until March 2016 and to expand its role to include bombings over Syria.
The Opposition has repeatedly criticized the Conservative government for authorizing airstrikes in Syria, saying the Canadian military will be assisting Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad.
However, the Tories have said Canada has a duty to act against ISIS as it continues to establish its presence in Syria.
The Department of Defence noted that although this was the first airstrike in Syria since the mission expansion it was not the first air sortie (military deployment). Three sorties have taken place since the government’s decision to expand the mission.