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Canadian military teams aid overseas efforts to topple ISIS in Mosul

French soldiers shoot a canon toward Islamic State militant positions from a coalition forces military base in Qayara, Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. Teams are poised to prevent the spread of Islamic State fighters after the Iraqi city of Mosul falls.
French soldiers shoot a canon toward Islamic State militant positions from a coalition forces military base in Qayara, Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. Teams are poised to prevent the spread of Islamic State fighters after the Iraqi city of Mosul falls. AP Photo/Manu Brabo

OTTAWA – Two Canadian military teams are in Lebanon and Jordan as the international community searches for ways to keep the so-called Islamic State group from spreading once the city of Mosul falls.

Senior military commanders have warned that victory in Iraq’s second-largest city will not mark the end of ISIS as a threat, but that the group will instead go underground and resort to suicide attacks and similar tactics.

READ MORE: 1,000 Islamic State fighters killed in Mosul: Iraqi forces

There are also growing fears that defeat in Iraq and Syria will see ISIS attempt to spread into the surrounding region, where it will try to foment fresh havoc and instability.

WATCH: Iraqi forces shoot at ISIS drones following attack

Iraqi forces shoot at ISIS drones following attack
Iraqi forces shoot at ISIS drones following attack
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British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said Thursday that preventing that spread will be a key focus for those countries involved in the fight against ISIS — also known as Daesh — in the coming months.

WATCH: Iraqi army helicopter offers aerial view of Mosul

Iraqi army helicopter offers aerial view of Mosul
Iraqi army helicopter offers aerial view of Mosul

“We need momentum across the Middle East to defeat Daesh wherever it now disperses to,” Fallon said at the start of an anti-ISIS meeting in London.

“As they are pushed out of Iraq, they will disperse and move to different theatres and redefine their success not by territory, but by insurgency.”

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Speaking by phone after the meeting, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Canadian troops will remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future to ensure local forces can maintain peace and security.

Military officials have previously said Iraqi and Kurdish forces will need to be retrained to deal with the type of terror tactics that ISIS is expected to adopt after Mosul.

READ MORE: ISIS used chemical weapons at least 71 times in Iraq, Syria

“We want to make sure that we solidify the gains that have been made and not leave immediately and put the situation in jeopardy again,” Sajjan said.

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“We want to make sure we have the right troops and the right training.”

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WATCH: Iraqi forces inch closer to Mosul

Iraqi forces inch closer to Mosul
Iraqi forces inch closer to Mosul

At the same time, the minister said Canada is looking at how it can help prevent any “spillage” of ISIS from Iraq and Syria into the surrounding region.

Two teams of military advisers are in Jordan and Lebanon, where they have been working with local authorities to identify gaps and ways to prevent ISIS from spreading into their countries.

READ MORE: ISIS leader confident despite Mosul offensive, urges attack on Turkey

To that end, the government committed last week to provide the Lebanese military with mountain-climbing and winter gear, and $1 million toward the creation of a special border patrol regiment.

In September, Canada also provided 26 trucks to a special Jordanian military unit tasked with responding quickly to security incidents. Details of additional support are still being worked out.

“We’ve committed to regional stability,” Sajjan said.

READ MORE: Mosul suicide attack could be from Irish Islamic State supporter

“Our troops are doing the analysis of where we can have the best impact … to make sure that there’s no spillage of some of these problems into the other countries.”

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Meanwhile, Sajjan said his biggest regret over the past year was the slow pace of improvement in terms of delivering mental-health services and pensions to military personnel.

The Liberal government will release a new defence policy early next year, which Sajjan said will go a long way to addressing many of the problems.

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