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Canada says no longer aiding Iraqi Kurds

AFP  |  Ottawa 

Canadian special forces have ended their training support for Iraqi Kurdish fighters, the defence department confirmed today, after suspended the assistance in October.

is part of the United States-led international coalition against the Islamic State group in and Syria, which has trained and assisted local forces while conducting air strikes against the jihadists, whose self-proclaimed "caliphate" has collapsed.

"The has partnered with Kurdish units of the Iraqi security forces in the past," the said in a statement.

This assistance contributed "to the greater Iraqi security forces successes" in recapturing Iraq's second city, Mosul, and then in October freeing Hawija, the IS's last urban stronghold in Iraq, it said.

"The units the SOTF is looking to advise and assist... at this time do not fall under the Ministry of Peshmerga," it said.

The statement came after Canada's top soldier, Jon Vance, was quoted on Thursday in The as saying that "training with the was ceased when it was no longer of any value in terms of the battle" against IS.

In February 2016 tripled its special forces contingent to 210 and said its mission to train Kurdish forces would continue into 2019.

But last October, with tensions high between the Iraqi federal forces and Kurdish fighters, suspended its military assistance in the country's north.

Then, following the retreat of IS from several zones, recalled its surveillance aircraft in mid-December while reinforcing its support for coalition logistics by sending to a second CC-130J transport plane. Canada also has an aerial refuelling plane in the country, tactical helicopters and support personnel.

In 2015, Canadian was killed and three members of his unit wounded when Kurdish troops mistakenly opened fire on them.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, June 09 2018. 03:45 IST