Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed Monday that Canada will cease air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria by Feb. 22.
Instead, Canada will contribute $840 million in humanitarian assistance over the next three years, and another $270 million for increased education and medical care in Jordan and Lebanon, said Trudeau.
“It is important to understand that while air strike operations can be very useful to achieve short term military and territorial gains, they do not on their own achieve long term stability for local communities,” said Trudeau in Ottawa this morning.
Trudeau announced Canada’s plans after conferring this morning with the Defence Minister, International Development Minister, and Foreign Minister.
“The greatest needs now are for expanded training and intelligence capability, first we will triple the size of our train, advice and insist effort in northern Iraq,” said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan at this morning’s conference
Trudeau made a campaign promise to pull out Canada’s six CF-18 fighter jets from their efforts of bombing ISIS by the end of March, even though the Conservatives continue to push towards keeping them in fight.
“We think we ought to avoid doing precisely what our enemies want us to do: they want us to elevate them, to give in to fear, to indulge in hatred,” said Trudeau.
The complement of military personnel in the region will climb from 650 to 830, which will provide planning, targeting and intelligence expertise.
A recent Angus Reid poll found most Canadians disagree with Trudeau’s plan on withdrawing CF-18s. When asked what Canada’s role should be in the fight against ISIS, only 27 per cent said they agreed on Trudeau’s plan on wanting to stop Canada’s bombing mission.
Canadian fighter jets have flown over 1,300 missions since launching combat operations in November 2014.