Canada suspends military assistance to Iraqi forces in north amid row with KRG

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
OTTAWA
Published 28.10.2017 13:48

Canadian special forces have temporarily suspended military assistance to Iraqi troops due to tensions between the Middle Eastern country's military and autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) Peshmerga fighters, the defense ministry said Friday.

Cooperation will resume "once more clarity exists regarding the inter-relationships of Iraqi security forces, and the key priorities and tasks going forward," said Dan Le Bouthillier, a spokesman for Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan.

Earlier Friday, Iraqi forces paused operations against the KRG to allow for talks after the two sides -- both armed and trained by the U.S. -- exchanged heavy artillery fire in the latest flare-up of a crisis sparked by a controversial independence vote last month.

Canada, which is part of the international coalition fighting the Daesh group, said that although its special forces were suspending their mission in training and assisting Iraqi forces in the country's north, its work in other areas continued.

That includes supporting the coalition in tactical aviation, intelligence, targeting, command and control, and at a medical facility.

Canada tripled its special forces contingent in Iraq in February 2016 to 210 troops.

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