Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance attends a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Latvian President Egils Levits in London on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. Chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance says the Canadian military is temporarily relocating some soldiers from Iraq to Kuwait. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada relocating some troops from Iraq to Kuwait due to safety concerns: Vance

Vance did not specify how many Canadian troops were being pulled out of Iraq.

The Canadian military is temporarily relocating some soldiers from Iraq to Kuwait due to security concerns, chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance said Tuesday.

The move, which Vance announced in an open letter to the families of Canadian soldiers in Iraq that was posted to Twitter, follows the lead of Germany and several other allies who have withdrawn some of their troops.

“Over the coming days, and as a result of Coalition and NATO planning, some of our people will be moved temporarily from Iraq to Kuwait,” Vance wrote. “Simply put, we are doing this to ensure their safety and security.”

Canada has about 500 soldiers in Iraq, most of whom are there to help train local forces to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, including about 200 with a NATO mission in the south of the country and upwards of 200 special-forces soldiers in the north.

Vance did not specify how many Canadian troops were being pulled out of Iraq.

“Naturally, the work we are doing on these missions, and the future of operations in Iraq, remain conditional on maintaining a sufficiently secure and productive operational environment,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘They were targeting us’: Iranian-Canadian held at U.S. border

Western troops in Iraq have been on high alert since the killing of an Iranian general by a U.S. drone at the Baghdad airport on Friday night.

The death of Iranian Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was seen as the second-most powerful person in Iran, has raised fears of Iranian reprisals. Iraq’s parliament and outgoing prime minister have called for the forced withdrawal of all western troops from the country.

The Canadian mission has also been caught in the middle of confusion surrounding U.S. intentions in Iraq.

A leaked letter from the U.S. general commanding the anti-ISIL coalition to Iraq’s defence ministry on Monday suggested the coalition, to which Canada belongs, was preparing to pack up and withdraw from the country.

But U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the Americans’ top general, Gen. Mark Milley, insisted no decision had been made.

Canada is not the first country to relocate troops from Iraq this week. Germany, Croatia and Romania have also reportedly started moving some or all of their forces out of the country.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thief nabs $600 worth of tools in break-and-enter at Saanich hardware store

Police department sees a spike in break-and-enters

Victoria police seek public help finding high-risk missing woman last seen on ferry

Mariah Konchak has shoulder-length dark hair, scars above her right eye and may be missing a tooth

Island Health to use Saanich recreation centre to support pandemic needs

Cedar Hill Recreation Centre will be used as a referral-only assessment clinic

Greater Victoria resident sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Boat says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Tents, sleeping bags donated to Our Place from local Victoria store

Robinson’s Outdoor Store received funds from PwC Canada to make the donation

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Most Read