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Canadian special forces supported major Iraqi military assault on ISIL last month

FILE: Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

OTTAWA — The commander of Canada’s special forces says his soldiers supported a major military offensive last month that U.S. and Iraqi officials say killed dozens of Islamic State fighters.

The two-week offensive codenamed Operation Ready Lion took place in a mountain range in northern Iraq  and involved using Iraqi and coalition airstrikes to flush ISIL fighters from their tunnel complexes and bunkers.

Those who fled were either captured or killed by Iraqi military snipers.

The Canadian Armed Forces has been relatively quiet about what its roughly 200 special forces soldiers in Iraq have been doing in recent years.

But in an exclusive interview with The Canadian Press, Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe says his troops helped plan the operation and then helped with surveillance, resupplies and medical evacuations as it was underway.

The federal government recently extended Canada’s anti-ISIL mission, which first started in late 2014, currently includes hundreds of other troops in addition to the special forces soldiers until next March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press