Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the country would be pulling out by 22 February its six fighter jets that have been bombing Islamic State (ISIL) targets in Iraq and Syria.
Trudeau had promised to end Canada’s controversial combat role in the fight against ISIL in the run-up to his election last year.
“ISIL would like us to see them as a credible threat to our way of life and to our civilization. We know Canada is stronger, much stronger than the threat posed by a murderous gang of thugs who are terrorising some of the more vulnerable people on earth,” he said on Monday in Ottawa.
Opinion polls show Canadians are sharply divided over the role of their armed forces in tackling the threat of ISIL.
Support for foreign missions fell after a decade of involvement in Afghanistan that ended in 2011, during which 158 Canadian soldiers were killed.