Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Printed Tuesday, January 7, 2020 11:42AM EST
Final Up to date Tuesday, January 7, 2020 11:38PM EST
OTTAWA – No Canadian Armed Forces troops have been damage by the barrage of Iranian missiles that hit targets in Iraq Tuesday, Canada’s chief of defence workers says.
“CAF households: I can guarantee you that each one deployed CAF personnel are secure & accounted for following missile assaults in Iraq,” Gen. Jonathan Vance stated in a tweet late Tuesday. “We stay vigilant.”
That message was echoed by Canadian Armed Forces Operations.
“Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed in Iraq are confirmed secure after two navy bases have been focused by missile assaults this night.”
In response to U.S. authorities, a few dozen ballistic missiles focused Al-Asad airbase close to Baghdad and the northern metropolis of Irbil, within the a part of Iraq managed by the nation’s Kurdish minority.
Canadians have lengthy been in Irbil, working with Iraqi troops and sustaining a helicopter unit, and Canada has a diplomatic presence there as nicely.
Hours earlier than the Iranian missiles hit the Canadian Forces had began to maneuver troops in another country.
U.S. President Donald Trump additionally took to social media to touch upon the assault after the U.S. Protection Division stated there have been few, if any, casualties amongst its forces.
“All is nicely! Missiles launched from Iran at two navy bases situated in Iraq. Evaluation of casualties & damages going down now,” Trump stated on Twitter.
“To this point, so good! We’ve got essentially the most highly effective and nicely geared up navy anyplace on the planet, by far! I will probably be making an announcement tomorrow morning.”
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and different Canadian authorities leaders stated they have been monitoring the state of affairs.
The Canadian navy’s redeployment adopted different Western nations involved concerning the more and more risky standoff between the USA and Iran.
The withdrawal of an unspecified variety of Canadian troopers to Kuwait was billed by Vance as a brief measure meant to make sure their security and safety. When – or even when – they are going to return is an open query.
In an open letter to the households of the 500 Canadian troopers in Iraq, Vance stated the security of the troops was his prime precedence and that safety measures have been being “thought-about, reassessed and modified as required each day.”
“Over the approaching days, and because of Coalition and NATO planning, a few of our folks will probably be moved quickly from Iraq to Kuwait,” Vance added within the letter, which was posted on Twitter. “Merely put, we’re doing this to make sure their security and safety.”
Vance didn’t reveal what number of Canadian troops have been being pulled out of Iraq, and the Division of Nationwide Defence later stated it will not present that info for safety causes.
Nevertheless, at the same time as Vance described the withdrawal as short-term, he added: “Naturally, the work we’re doing on these missions, and the way forward for operations in Iraq, stay conditional on sustaining a sufficiently safe and productive operational setting.”
The Canadian contingent consists of about 200 troopers connected to a NATO mission within the south of the nation that’s coaching Iraqi counterparts within the fundamentals of soldiering as a part of the combat towards the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
There have additionally been as much as 200 special-forces troopers within the northern a part of the nation working with specialised Iraqi counter-terror troops whereas a number of dozen extra Canadians are working with senior Iraqi officers or offering logistical, medical and different help to the remainder of the contingent.
The entire Canadians have been ordered to droop their actions and hunker down over the weekend and guard towards assault following the killing by a U.S. drone on the Baghdad airport of Iranian Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was seen because the second-most highly effective particular person in Iran.
Soleimani’s dying has raised fears of Iranian reprisals towards U.S. and allied forces in Iraq and the encircling area. It has additionally prompted Iraq’s parliament and outgoing prime minister to name for the pressured withdrawal of all western troops from the nation.
The withdrawal of Canadian forces from Iraq follows an analogous resolution by different NATO allies, together with Germany, Croatia and Romania. There have been additionally stories of U.S. forces being placed on excessive alert over fears of Iranian drone assaults.
“In every thing that we do, the security of our personnel is paramount,” a NATO official stated on Tuesday. “We’re taking all precautions vital to guard our folks. This consists of the short-term repositioning of some personnel to completely different areas each inside and outdoors of Iraq.”
Even because the Canadian Armed Forces was making ready to begin shifting folks out of Iraq on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was speaking to different world leaders concerning the state of affairs within the Center East, together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and King Abdullah II of Jordan.
New Democrat Chief Jagmeet Singh stated Trudeau needs to be speaking to Canadians.
“Canadians don’t need one other struggle,” Singh posted to Twitter.
“Mr. Trudeau wants to talk to Canadians and present us his plan for Canada to assist calm tensions – not observe Trump into struggle.”
Donald Trump and senior members of his administration continued to defend Soleimani’s killing, with the U.S. president calling the Iranian normal a “monster,” at the same time as they insisted there was no fast plan to withdraw American forces from Iraq.
A leaked letter from the U.S. normal commanding the anti-ISIL coalition to Iraq’s defence ministry on Monday steered the coalition, to which Canada belongs, was making ready to pack up and withdraw from the nation.
There have been stories on Tuesday that outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi thought-about the letter an official declaration of the U.S. navy’s deliberate departure, however U.S. Protection Secretary Mark Esper once more dismissed the letter as a draft and stated no resolution had been taken.
Throughout a information convention on the White Home along with his Greek counterpart, Trump stated he didn’t know the specifics of the letter earlier than asserting U.S. withdrawal can be “the worst factor that might occur to Iraq.”
“If we depart, that may imply that Iran would have a a lot larger foothold, and the folks of Iraq don’t wish to see Iran run the nation.”
But Trump, who had threatened sanctions towards Iraq on Monday following calls from its parliament and Abdul-Mahdi for all international troops to go away, additionally stated: “We do not wish to be there without end. We wish to have the ability to get out. I did not wish to be there within the first place, to be trustworthy.”
The Iranian authorities, in the meantime, was persevering with to warn of retaliatory assaults towards U.S. forces at the same time as a funeral was held for Soleimani.
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Jan. 7, 2020.
– With recordsdata from The Related Press