CF-18s Hit Target in Syria near Assad Forces; Commander Denies Co-Ordination

By Brewster, Murray | The Canadian Press, June 12, 2015 | Go to article overview

CF-18s Hit Target in Syria near Assad Forces; Commander Denies Co-Ordination


Brewster, Murray, The Canadian Press


CF-18s bomb Syrian target near Assad forces

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OTTAWA - The commander of Canada's bombing campaign in the Middle East says recent strikes in Syria were not co-ordinated with the government of Bashar Assad, even though its forces were operating in the area at the time.

Two CF-18 jets carried out airstrikes this week near the eastern city of Al Hasakah, a hotly contested region where units loyal to Assad recaptured some territory from extremists last weekend.

The independent Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said as many as 20 Syrian soldiers and pro-government militia were killed in the lead-up to the capture, which included airstrikes by government forces.

The Canadian mandate against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is clear, Brig.-Gen. Lise Bourgon, who took over recently as the detachment commander, told a telephone briefing Friday.

"We attack the ISIS targets that are given to us. That is really our target and there has been no co-ordination with the government of Syria," Bourgon said from Kuwait, where Canada's warplanes, surveillance aircraft and refueller are based.

She also said there are no western forces on the ground spotting targets in Syria.

"We have intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft that are flying, and the targeting again is being done in a deliberate manner with input from a number of specialist personnel, intelligence, legal and operational staff," she said.

"We see the target from above and then we make sure we have the right info to avoid civilian casualties or any collateral damage, and when the time comes we do the targeting, but there is no contact with the Syrian government -- or Syrian forces on the ground."

Bourgon wouldn't go into further details, or clarify whether there had been contacts between Syrian planes and coalition planes. …

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