Ottawa Announces One Year Extension to Anti-ISIL Mission, but Offers Few Details

March 30, 2021 Updated: March 31, 2021

OTTAWA—Canada is staying in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant for another year.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced this afternoon that Canada will keep up to 850 troops in Iraq and the surrounding region until next March.

The extension comes only one day before the mission, which began in October 2014, was set to end.

It also coincides with growing concerns about Iran’s influence in Iraq, with Tehran backing numerous Shia militia groups.

Those groups, which have largely displaced ISIL as the main threat in Iraq, have stepped up attacks on Western forces in recent months.

The Liberal government previously set a cap of 850 troops for the mission several years ago, but Canada had been slowly withdrawing troops from the region over the last year.

Sajjan did not indicate whether the drawdown will actually be reversed, nor did he offer other details on the specific makeup of the mission, which includes special forces troops and military trainers.