Canadian special forces were engaged in heavy combat at the forefront of what is being called a “significant” operation by Islamic State insurgents near Mosul in northern Iraq on Wednesday.
Fighting alongside Kurdish elements, the elite Canadian troops stopped the ISIS offensive in its tracks and pushed them back to Mosul after two CF-18 fighter jets hammered enemy positions with airstrikes. No Canadians were killed or wounded during the attack, however a number of Kurdish soldiers were. An estimated 70 ISIS fighters were also killed.
ISIS attempted to employ as many as nine SVBIEDs (suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive devices) to break through the coalition’s lines east and north of Mosul. This suggests that ISIS in Mosul is possibly surrounded, or at least, cut off from supply routes. This buildup of coalition troops also suggests that the ever-looming offensive to liberate mosul is very near. The timeframe for the offensive may be dependent on the ongoing operations in Ramadi, which seem to be making progress according to defense officials.
The new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed that he will withdraw Canadian fighter jets from partaking in airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, a move that clearly hasn’t been implemented yet. That withdraw may wait until the arrival of their current obligation deadline in March, 2016. Trudeau’s withdrawal appears to have been nothing more than a campaign publicity stunt to secure votes. Canada will maintain its constant aerial targeting missions over the region with CP-140 Aurora aircraft. They will also continue to run air refuel operations with their CC-150T Polaris tankers for all Operation Inherent Resolve strike aircraft conducting bombing runs over Iraq and Syria. The point being here is that the Forward Observer has just as much blood on his hands as the Mortarmen themselves when the rounds land.
The six Canadian CF-18s will in no way be missed now that the French and Brits have added dozens of their own into the fight. Withdrawing the aircraft would almost seem like a common sense streamlining process for the overall mission.