OTTAWA — The commander of Canada’s special forces says relations with Iraq’s government are “sensitive,” and his troops are treading carefully as they help local forces fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe’s comments follow a flurry of activity last month in Iraq, with Iran launching a missile attack and the Iraqi parliament calling for all western troops to leave the country after the U.S. killed a top Iranian general.
Among the targets of the Iranian missile attack was the military base near the Kurdish city of Irbil in northern Iraq that has served as the main base for Canadian special forces fighting ISIL since October 2014.
Dawe says the Iranian missiles did not land close to Canadian troops, whose activities were suspended hours before the attacks.
As for the Iraqi parliament’s resolution, Dawe says the anti-ISIL coalition and Canadian officials are in close contact with the government to ensure everything is in line with Baghdad’s desires.
The Canadian Armed Forces will not say how many special-forces soldiers are in Iraq, but it is authorized to deploy up to 200 to help fight ISIL.