A week after announcing the withdrawal of fighter jets from Iraq, Canada’s Defense Minister said his country is swapping in four armored tactical Griffon helicopters to ferry Special Forces.
“The Griffon helicopters are being deployed for the safety of our troops in northern Iraq,” Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan told Parliament.
“They will be used for the transportation of our personnel because they provide increased force protection for our brave men and women in uniform,” he said.
In place of the six F-18 fighter jets, Ottawa last week said it would triple the number of Special Forces training Kurdish militia in northern Iraq to about 210.
Canadian CC-150T Polaris refueling and CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft would also continue to play roles in the US-led coalition fighting ISIS.
In another regional development, President Barack Obama has vowed not to let ISIS build a base in Libya, saying the United States would take action where there was a “clear target.”
“We are working with our other coalition partners to make sure that, as we see opportunities to prevent ISIS from digging in Libya, we take them,” Obama said.
“We will continue to take actions where we got a clear operation and a clear target in mind.”
The militant group has established a base with thousands of fighters in the coastal city of Sirte.
The hometown of late President Muammar Qaddafi, the city is a strategic port near oilfields that could provide a lucrative source of income.
“The tragedy of Libya over the last several years is Libya has a relatively small population and a lot of oil wealth, and could be really successful,” said Obama.
Since rebels and Western airpower toppled Qaddafi’s regime in 2011, the country has effectively lacked a government.