Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Seven Canadian Soldiers Treated at Military Hospital in Iraq since November

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Seven Canadian Soldiers Treated at Military Hospital in Iraq since November

Article excerpt

Canadian troops received medical aid in Iraq

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OTTAWA - National Defence is refusing to disclose details about several Canadian soldiers treated at a military hospital in northern Iraq in recent weeks, including whether any of them were wounded on the battlefield.

The soldiers were among 120 patients who were seen at the medical facility since it began operating near the Kurdish city of Erbil at the end of November, according to figures provided to The Canadian Press.

The hospital, staffed by about 50 Canadian Forces medical personnel, is providing emergency and non-emergency care to those involved in the battle for nearby Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

The figures show that the majority of patients seen at the facility have been troops from other coalition countries such as the United States, which has more than 5,000 soldiers in Iraq.

But the hospital had also treated seven Canadian soldiers, as well as three members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant who were captured and needed medical aid.

Military spokesman Capt. Vincent Bouchard refused this week to say whether any of the seven Canadians were wounded in combat.

"For privacy reasons and operational considerations, the Canadian Armed Forces do not release details about the types of injuries treated at the Role 2 medical facility," Bouchard said in an email.

As for the captured ISIL fighters, officials said they remained in the custody of coalition members even while being treated by Canadian medical personnel.

The veil of secrecy continues a trend that started in Afghanistan, where commanders grew more tight-lipped about injuries to Canadian troops as the 10-year mission wore on.

The main exception was in March 2015, when Kurdish forces accidentally shot and wounded three Canadians in a deadly friendly-fire incident that also killed Sgt. Andrew Doiron.

The U.S. military has been similarly reluctant to provide details on the number of injured in Iraq, though one media analysis found at least 14 American soldiers had been wounded in combat since October.

The refusal to say whether any of the Canadians treated at the hospital had been wounded in combat sparked fresh calls from opposition parties Thursday for more transparency about the Iraq mission. …

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