From Sun News Network
Canadian special forces got into a firefight with Islamic State fighters last week while on a training mission with Iraqi forces.
Special forces commander Brig.-Gen. Mike Rouleau said Canadian snipers took out an ISIS mortar position after coming under fire near the front lines last Monday.
“A week ago we went up to the front lines and were fired upon and returned fire by sniper positions,” Rouleau told reporters Monday.
He said it was the first time Canadian trainers have come under fire, and he still considers the risk to the 65-70 Canadians on the ground in Iraq to be low.
Canada joined the United States-led international coalition to fight ISIS back in October.
The Canadian mission was to include airstrikes in Iraq, with some troops in the country to help train Iraqi forces.
In December, the defence department denied Canadian snipers armed with long-range rifles, accompanied by Kurdish and Iraqi snipers, participated in operations against Islamist fighters from positions away from the front lines.
Maj.-Gen. Michael Hood said the Canadians were only there to observe and train.
“We made it clear that this mission does not involve sending ground troops in a combat role,” he said at the time.
Also on Monday, Lt.-Gen. John Vance indicated Canadian troops are well-prepared to continue the mission beyond April if Parliament wants to extend it.
He said defeating the ISIS ideology will take time.
Vance also confirmed Canadian special forces troops are targeting Islamic State positions with lasers to guide the bombs dropped by coalition aircraft.
“This government gave us a job to do and we’re doing it,” Vance said.
NDP defence critic MP Jack Harris said “Canadians have been misled.”
“What we are seeing now is mission creep,” he said. “When you join the Iraqi forces on the front lines you will directly be involved in a combat role.”
PMO spokesman Jason MacDonald said the mission “is one in which they are providing advice and assistance to Iraqi forces only.
“We have always been clear that while this is a low-risk mission, it is not without risk and our forces on the ground will protect themselves if fired on in the course of carrying out their mission,” MacDonald said.
Defence expert and associate professor at the Royal Military College of Canada Christian Leuprecht noted the firefight “was not a forward offensive operation.”
“This was a defensive reaction in response to a direct threat to Canadian support elements on the ground,” he said.
Vance and Rouleau said the special forces advisers spend 20% of their time at or near the front lines, and 80% “behind the lines.”
Both disputed reporters’ suggestions that the firefight amounted to “ground combat,” which was not authorized in the motion passed by Parliament.
Prime Minister Harper had this to say in response to the NDP accusing the Harper Government of lying to Canadians….
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made it clear that if ISIS terrorists fire at Canadian troops, “we’re going to kill them.”Harper’s was responding to media questions in St. Catharines, Ont., on Thursday about whether the nature of the Canadian mission in Iraq would shift to more of a combat role.“This is a robust mission where (Canadian Forces) are going to make (Iraqi Security Forces) effective to take on the Islamic State and deal with them,” he said. “And if those guys fire at us, we’re going to fire back and we’re going to kill them.”Asked if Canada’s initial commitment to provide advice to the Iraqi government and security forces as well as a six-month airstrike mission would not change, Harper replied “No.”Questions about the Canadian Forces’ role arose earlier this week amid reports soldiers fired back at ISIS militants after coming under attack.
Leader of the Free World Canadian PM Stephen Harper states the obvious. Meanwhile part-time drama teacher and apparent Liberal leader Justin Trudeau wants to hand out parkas. Barack Obama could not be reached for comment as he was golfing. ( description comment from video! LOL!)
My goodness…imagine that! The NDP , once known as the New Democrat Party, now known as “New Dhimmi Party”, thinks that Canadians were lied to because our Special Forces had to defend themselves? What would you have them do? Stand up and wave a white flag? PFFT!
I’m happy that not one of the Canadian Special Forces were hurt or killed in this firefight!
From information that I was given…… One of those Snipers was a female who is known for her bullets going up the Butt and out the Head. Her tally was four shots, four killed…
The terrorists don’t really like her much, which I can’t understand why??? ( snark). I happen to think she’s awesome! 🙂