ISIL threat in Iraq still demands Canadian troops: Defence chief

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OTTAWA — Canada’s top military officer says it’s too soon to say when Canadian troops will no longer be needed in Iraq.

Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance says many of the political, economic and social problems that contributed to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s rise more than four years ago remain.

And while ISIL has lost all the territory it once held in Iraq, Vance says it remains a threat and that Canada and its allies must stay on guard.

Vance’s comments to a parliamentary committee come as Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and his American counterpart James Mattis are hosting a meeting at an estate outside Ottawa of representatives from about a dozen countries involved in the fight against ISIL .

The federal government is weighing Canada’s long-term role in the region.

Canada is leading a NATO training operation in Iraq that includes 250 Canadian troops, but other aspects of the mission, including the provision of aircraft and special forces troops, expire next spring.

The Canadian Press

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