ERBIL, Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – The Canadian military has deployed 60 new members of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to their camp in Erbil, according to Canadian news outlets.
The new squadron—the 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron based in Edmonton, Alberta—will take over from their colleagues from the Quebec 430 Squadron who have been providing tactical support in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) since October 2016.
They will fly and maintain up to four CH-146 Griffon helicopters at Camp Erable near the city of Erbil.
Maj. Gen. Christian Drouin, commander of 1 First Canadian Air Division, said the squadron would provide support to both Canadian and coalition partners.
“The men and women of 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron will continue to provide agile, reliable and dedicated service that Canada’s Special Operations Forces and our coalition allies have come to expect from the RCAF,” Col. Jeannot Boucher, commander of the First Wing, said in a news release.
Camp Erable, the Canadian military camp in Erbil, is host to the Tactical Aviation Detachment and the Canadian-led Coalition Role II medical facility.
They have been operating in Iraq from Erbil under Operation IMPACT, as part of the Canadian Armed Forces’ contribution to the coalition against IS.
There are currently 830 Canadian military personnel based in both Iraq and Kuwait as part of Operation IMPACT.
In January, Canada indicated it was looking to reopen an embassy in Iraq. Canada currently has a diplomatic office in Erbil and a mission in Baghdad.
It remains unclear what the makeup of the Canadian diplomatic offices in Erbil and Baghdad would be.
Reporting by G. H. Renaud
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany