Canadian jets hitting few targets in Syria
The Canadian military reported 18 new air strikes against targets belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, but none in the latest round involve missions over Syria.
In the three months since Parliament granted an expansion of the air campaign, only three attacks have been conducted against what the Harper government sometimes described as the heart of the extremist movement.
The U.S.-led coalition has stepped up both the level of bombing and the public relations campaign since Islamic State forces dealt a surprise blow to the Iraqi government and seized took control of the strategically important city of Ramadi.
Canadian navy Capt. Paul Forget says it’s clear that the tempo of CF-18 missions has increased along with its allies, but he offered no explanation for the dearth of Syrian missions.
“All air strikes, whether in Syria or Iraq, are assigned by the targeting cell (at coalition headquarters in Qatar),” he said.
“Those strikes are assigned to various nations for a variety of reasons.”
Earlier this year, the country’s top military commander, Gen. Tom Lawson, attributed the low number of strikes in Syria to the fact, unlike Iraq, there were few friendly forces on the ground to help pinpoint targets.
Forget would not say whether that factor continues to limit Canadian involvement in the campaign.