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Canadian Military Ready to Defend Iraqi Trainees From Daesh Attacks

© REUTERS / Alaa Al-MarjaniIraqi security forces sit in military vehicles in suburb of Fallujah, Iraq
Iraqi security forces sit in military vehicles in suburb of Fallujah, Iraq - Sputnik International
Canadian Joint Operations Command spokesperson Capt. Vincent Bouchard claims that Canadian advisers continue to play non-combat roles in Iraq by assisting the Iraqi Security Forces, but stand ready to defend them from attacks by Daesh terror group.

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters fire a mortar shell from the top of Mount Zardak, about 25 kilometres east of Mosul, as they take part in an operation against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, on October 17, 2016 - Sputnik International
Canada Acquires Arms for Iraqi Kurds, Intends to Deliver Promptly
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Canadian advisers continue to play non-combat role by assisting the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), but stand ready to defend them from attacks by Daesh terror group, Canadian Joint Operations Command spokesperson Capt. Vincent Bouchard told Sputnik.

"The Canadian Special Operations Task Force continues to deliver on its mandate to provide advice and assistance to its Iraqi Security Forces partner," Bouchard said on Friday. "We are not principal combatants, but our personnel are ready to defend not only themselves but also the forces with which they are training and providing assistance."

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that the United States, which leads a coalition of 68 nations against Daesh, has changed the rules of engagement for the operation to liberate Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul.

During the offensive to retake the Mosul airport, the coalition embedded American and European advisers with forward Iraqi rapid response and special operations forces units, according to the report.

Bouchard, however, said Canada’s advice and assistance mission in Iraq remains a non-combat one.

"Our mandate has not changed," the spokesperson stated. "We are there to train, advise and assist the Iraqi security forces."

US Defense Department spokesperson Jeff Davis said in a briefing on Friday that coalition commander, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, is now exercising authorities that he has already had.

The spokesperson has previously stated advisers have been pushed deeper into the ISF formations, including such units as the federal police.

"There has been no DOD [US Defense Department]-directed change to rules of engagement," Davis concluded.

The operation to liberate Mosul from Daesh has been ongoing since October 2016. It resulted in the Iraqi forces liberating the city’s eastern part, but its western districts remain under the terrorists' control.

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