Government of Canada

Government of Canada

February 08, 2016 12:29 ET

Prime Minister Sets New Course to Address Crises in Iraq and Syria and Impacts on the Region

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 8, 2016) - The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau today announced Canada's new policy to address the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria and the impact they are having on the surrounding region. It will make a meaningful contribution to the Global Coalition's fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), while strengthening the ability of regional governments and local authorities to defend themselves, and rebuild over the long-term.

It is a whole of government approach that enlists several federal departments to work closely together to enhance security and stability, provide vital humanitarian assistance, and help partners deliver social services, rebuild infrastructure and good governance.

On the security front, Canada looked at how the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) could best contribute in the fight against ISIL in the region within the Global Coalition. In keeping with the mandate the government received from Canadians last fall, the government will focus on training and advising local security forces to take their fight directly to ISIL.

To this end, additional military resources will be dedicated to supporting Coalition partners at various headquarters and to training, advising and assisting Iraqi security forces in their efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL. While Canada will cease air strike operations no later than February 22, 2016, aerial refueling and surveillance activities will continue. As well, stabilization and counter-terrorism measures and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security programming in the region will be enhanced

To help address the protracted and tragic crises in the region, Canada will focus on meeting the basic needs of those most impacted by the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, including refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries. We will also work with international partners to build local capacity in communities and countries hosting large numbers of refugees, such as Lebanon and Jordan. Activities will include helping partners: provide education, healthcare and sanitation; maintain and repair infrastructure; promote employment and economic growth; and foster good governance.

Canada must do more to help find a diplomatic solution to the crises in Syria and Iraq. An enhanced presence on the ground will allow Canada to increase its engagement with local and international partners and participate more actively in multilateral efforts to resolve the crises and restore stability in the region.

The Government of Canada will contribute more than $1.6 billion over the next three years towards its new approach to security, stabilization, humanitarian and development assistance in response to the crises in Iraq and Syria, and their impact on Jordan and Lebanon.


"Our new policy in Iraq, Syria and the surrounding region reflects what Canada is all about: defending our interests alongside our allies, and working constructively with local partners to build real solutions that will last. We will work with allies to defeat ISIL and the terrorist threat it represents. At the same time, we will help address the needs of millions of vulnerable people while helping lay the foundations for improved governance, economic growth and longer-term stability."

  • The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

"Our new approach to Iraq, Syria and the surrounding region will be challenging and dangerous at times. There will be lessons learned as we adapt to changing circumstances on the ground. I am confident that we are up to these challenges and that we will show the world all that Canada can accomplish in a crisis situation."

  • The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

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Announcing new course for Canada today to address the crises in Iraq, Syria and the region (91 characters)



On February 8, 2016, the Government of Canada announced a new approach to respond to the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria and their impact on the region.

One of the key objectives of the approach is helping those most affected by the crises. To meet this goal Canada will work with experienced Canadian, local and international partners to:

  • deliver $840 million in humanitarian assistance over the next three years to support the basic needs of those hardest hit by the conflicts, including food, shelter, health care, water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as protection and emergency education. Assistance will target the most vulnerable, including children and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence; and
  • deliver $270 million over the next three years to build local capacity to provide basic social services, (e.g. education, health, water, sanitation), maintain and rehabilitate public infrastructure, foster inclusive growth and employment - including by enhancing women's and youth employment - and advance inclusive and accountable governance. Programming will focus on helping women and youth, improving maternal, newborn and child health and advancing gender equality. It will also focus on promoting environmental sustainability.

Depending on local circumstances, programming in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria will help address:

  • the educational needs of children and youth;
  • the capacity of municipalities to provide basic services and manage tensions between hosting communities and refugees as required; and
  • youth and women's employment, including through training.


The solution to the crises in the region must be, first and foremost, political. As such, another priority of Canada's new approach is increasing its diplomatic role in helping to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria, and assisting the efforts of the Iraqi government to foster reconciliation.

In implementing our new approach, an increased presence on the ground in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon will allow Canada to engage more effectively with local and international partners and actively contribute to finding solutions to the issues facing these countries and the region.



On February 8, 2016, the Government of Canada announced a new approach to respond to the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria and their impact in the region.

One of the key objectives of this strategy is promoting security and stability. Canada will undertake the following activities, in close co-ordination with key Coalition allies and local and international partners to accomplish this goal:

Military efforts

Military efforts will continue to play an important role in setting the conditions necessary to deal with the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Subject to further discussions with the Government of Iraq and Coalition partners, Canada will extend its military engagement in Iraq and Syria under Operation IMPACT until March 31, 2017, and make the following contributions under its new approach:

  • increase its complement of military personnel to approximately 830, up from approximately 650.
    • Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel will be deployed at various Global Coalition headquarters to further support Coalition members and Iraqi security forces in the planning and execution of military operations. More specifically they will provide high-demand expertise in the areas of operational planning, targeting and intelligence.
  • triple the size of its train, advise and assist mission to help Iraqi security forces plan and conduct military operations against ISIL. As part of this mission we will also:
  • deploy CAF medical personnel to provide training to Iraqi security forces in the conduct of casualty management in a battlefield context as well as to provide medical support to CAF personnel and our partners;
  • provide equipment such as small arms, ammunition and optics to assist in the training of Iraqi security forces. The provision of such equipment will be carried out in accordance with Canadian and international law, including the Law of Armed Conflict; and,
  • examine ways to enhance in-theatre tactical transport.
  • Air Contribution: maintain the current air contribution of one CC-150 Polaris aerial refuelling aircraft and up to two CP-140 Aurora aerial surveillance aircraft, along with associated aircrew and support personnel. These aircraft will continue to conduct operations throughout the Coalition theatre. As directed, the CAF will cease air strike operations in Iraq and Syria no later than February 22, 2016. As a result, the six CF-188 Hornets, along with associated aircrew and support personnel will be redeployed in a phased approach.
  • Regional Capacity Building: subject to further discussion with regional partners, Canada will enhance its capacity-building efforts with security forces in Jordan and Lebanon to help prevent the spread of violent extremism. Canada is also offering to provide the Government of Iraq with a team of strategic advisors to the Ministries of Defence and the Interior.

Canada will allocate approximately $264 million towards these efforts with an additional $41.9 million allocated for redeployment of personnel and equipment in 2017. Recognizing the complexity of the challenging security environment, we will assess at a later date whether the mission should be extended beyond March 31, 2017.

Non-military security efforts

Other Government of Canada security initiatives include:

  • $145 million over the next three years towards counter-terrorism; stabilization and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) security programming.
  • continuing efforts to: support security forces and law enforcement capacity building and training; stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters; cut off ISIL's access to financing and funding; counter ISIL's propaganda; and engage in other security and stabilization efforts, such as mitigating the risks posed by explosive remnants of war and providing assistance to enable the return of internally-displaced persons to newly liberated areas.

These initiatives will also be undertaken in close consultation and collaboration with local and international partners, including Coalition partners and allies.

Contact Information

  • PMO Media Relations:
    (613) 957-5555
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