ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Canadian special forces previously stationed in Mosul are heading to Hawija to support Iraqi forces in an upcoming campaign to dislodge the Islamic State (IS) from the area.
On Friday, Canadian military spokesperson Major General Alexandre Cadieux said the Canadian troops would continue to back Iraqi and Kurdish forces in their fight against IS.
Canada has about 200 soldiers stationed in northern Iraq where they have been mostly working with the Kurdish Peshmerga.
However, Maj. Gen. Cadieux noted the Canadian troops would also “operate with other Iraqi groups,” providing “advice and assistance in the vicinity of Hawija.”
“Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel are advising its partners on how to best secure their position and prevent effective counterattacks from [IS],” he continued.
“CAF personnel also advise and assist in the detection, identification, and possible prosecution of [IS] targets by our partner, or through coalition resources,” the Maj. Gen. added.
Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces have already begun surrounding Hawija, west of Mosul, and are awaiting orders from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to advance in the city.
The extremist group continues to lose its grip on territory it once held in Iraq and defeat in Hawija would signal a major defeat for IS who would only remain in control of a few small pockets along the Syrian border.
The city is located in the west of Kirkuk Province, a disputed territory between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq.
Despite a Kurdish majority, the diverse province consists of Arabs, Turkmen, and Christians.
The Kurdistan Region’s upcoming independence referendum on Sep. 25 will include Kirkuk, giving the people of the province an opportunity to choose whether they want to remain part of Iraq or join Kurdistan.