Canadian planes carry out first strikes in Syria against ISIS

OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada carried out its first air strikes in Syria on Wednesday, the military said, expanding Ottawa's contribution to the US-led coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), after parliament approved a larger role in the conflict.

Two F-18s using precision-guided munitions struck an ISIS position near the Syrian city of Raqqa, before safely returning to base, the military announced.

The strike near Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold, war carried out with a group of 10 aircraft, including six US planes.

Canadian strikes had been limited to Iraqi territory, but at the end of March, Canadian lawmakers narrowly passed a measure to allow the country's aircraft to target ISIS targets in Syria.

Opposition lawmakers argued Canada should not deepen its involvement in the long-running and complex war.

Canada first joined the anti-ISIS coalition in November and it has also deployed about 70 special forces troops to train Kurds to fight ISiS in northern Iraq.

Despite a sustained air campaign and ground advances in Iraq, the radical group still holds large swaths of territory straddling Syria and Iraq.