Canada to unveil plans for new anti-ISIS cooperation

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. PHOTO: REUTERS

OTTAWA (AFP) - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was set to unveil Monday (Feb 8) new plans for Canada's role in the international coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, including his pledge to stop involvement in air strikes.

Ottawa's plans to withdraw its warplanes from the US-led coalition targeting ISIS fighters in Syria is a symbolic blow against allied unity in the fight.

Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion and Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan will speak at a press conference.

"We really want to announce a holistic approach, and this includes all our contributions in terms of military, in terms of diplomacy and in terms of humanitarian assistance and development," said International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

Since he took office, Trudeau has been reminding countries in the US-led coalition that he wants to pull out Canada's six F18s.

They have been on duty since the previous Conservative government sent them into action in late 2014 to bomb ISIS positions in Iraq and then in Syria.

Parliament voted to approve the mission but setting a March end date.

Trudeau and his top diplomat have said Canada wants to put more resources into training Iraqi military troops to fight insurgents.

About 70 members of Canada's special forces have been in northern Iraq since November 2014.