Operation IMPACT

Operation IMPACT is the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) support to the Global Coalition against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. Under this mission, the CAF:

  • conducts air operations
  • provides training and assistance to the Iraqi security forces
  • helps regional forces build their capacity
  • provides medical services to Coalition forces
  • supports the Coalition with highly-skilled CAF members

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Aircraft sorties

As of June 25, 2017,  Air Task Force-Iraq has flown 2,965 sorties*:

  • CC-150T Polaris aerial refueller flew 778 sorties. It delivered some 46,100,000 pounds of fuel to Coalition aircraft; and
  • CP-140 Aurora aircraft flew 809 reconnaissance missions.

Definition - sortie: in air operations, a sortie refers to an operational flight by one aircraft. A sortie starts when one aircraft takes off and ends when it lands.

*This total includes 1378 sorties flown by CF-18 Hornets. They flew between October 30, 2014 and February 15, 2016.

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Canada plays an important role in Iraq alongside its partners. The CAF efforts in support of the Global Coalition improve Iraqi security forces capabilities. These efforts help Iraq to achieve long-term success in keeping its territory and people secure.

A maximum number of about 830 CAF members are approved to serve on Operation IMPACT. This number includes those assigned to the train, advise, and assist mission in support of the Iraqi security forces.

Joint Task Force-Iraq

Joint Task Force-Iraq

Joint Task Force-Iraq is responsible for:

  • national command and control of Operation IMPACT personnel and operations
  • coordinating operations with the Coalition headquarters

The CAF operates an all-source intelligence centre as part of Joint Task Force-Iraq. It gathers information from a variety of sources. It is responsible for collecting, synthesizing, and analyzing this information.

This intelligence is then used for operational planning. It ultimately helps to:

  • protect Coalition forces
  • determine how to conduct Coalition operations

CAF members serve in key positions in Coalition headquarters around the Middle East. They have high-demand skills in planning and carrying out military operations.  These skills support and enable the Coalition and Iraqi security forces. The CAF members are experts in areas such as:

  • intelligence operations
  • targeting
  • command and control

JTF-I Detachment Erbil is made up of some 30 CAF members. It is known as Camp Érable. It is host to and directly supports:

  • the Tactical Aviation Detachment
  • the Canadian-led Coalition Role 2 medical facility

The CAF commands a Role 2 medical facility in northern Iraq. It has a mandate to provide lifesaving medical and surgical care to Coalition forces. Approximately 50 CAF members serve at this facility in roles that include:

  • senior leadership
  • physicians
  • nurses
  • medical technicians
  • laboratory and diagnostic imaging technicians
  • a dental team
  • support staff

Medical facility capabilities include:

  • resuscitation
  • damage control surgery
  • intensive care support
  • dental care
  • diagnostic imaging
  • a medical lab

The CAF also provides medical equipment and supplies for the facility.

Air Task Force- Iraq

Air Task Force- Iraq

Joint Task Force-Iraq includes a CAF air component.  Air Task Force-Iraq supports Coalition air operations with air assets and crews. This includes:

  • one CC-150 Polaris aerial refueller
  • one CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft. It adds to Coalition intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities
  • a tactical aviation detachment. It includes up to four CH-146 Griffon helicopters. They carry Canadian troops, equipment, and supplies in theatre near Erbil. The Griffons can do casualty evacuations if required.  A variety of self-defence weapons are fitted to the aircraft
  • associated aircrew and support crews

These aircraft are an important part of Canada’s contribution to the Global Coalition.

Train, Advise and Assist

Train, Advise and Assist

Operation Impact includes highly-specialized CAF members from the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.  They train, advise and assist the Iraqi security forces in developing their military skills. This support enables the Iraqi security forces to take the fight to Daesh. As a result, they can work to remove the threat posed by Daesh in Iraq and the region and contribute to a more secure environment.

Capacity building

Capacity building

The CAF works with regional partners to help make the region more stable and secure. Military cooperation helps prevent the spread of violent extremism. To that end, the CAF has sent two training assistance teams, one to Jordan and one to Lebanon. They work closely with Canada’s Jordanian and Lebanese partners. The teams aim to:

  • help the Jordanian Armed Forces build their capacity
  • create a new program for the Lebanese Armed Forces to build their capacity

These capacity building programs may focus on:

  • individual soldier skills
  • infrastructure
  • individual soldier equipment

A Canadian brigadier-general leads the Global Coalition’s Ministerial Liaison Team. The team is supported by staff from eight countries, including Canada. It engages with the Iraqi Prime Minister’s staff. It also liaises with the Iraqi ministries of Defence and Interior. This liaison helps develop key military leaders and helps build institutional capacity. It ensures that current and future Coalition operations are in line with those of the government of Iraq.

Mission Context

Daesh

Daesh was formed in Iraq in October 2004.  The leader of a group known as Jamaat al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, aligned with Al-Qaeda. This created what was then known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The group has also been known as:

  • the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
  • the Islamic State (IS)
  • the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

Daesh advocates radical interpretations of Islam. It also claims religious authority over all Muslims. It aims to create a caliphate in the Levant region. This area includes:

  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Jordan
  • Israel
  • the West Bank and Gaza
  • Lebanon
  • Cyprus
  • a part of southern Turkey  

Daesh aims to achieve its goals by converting or killing non-Sunni populations. Its ultimate objective is to establish a world-wide Islamic caliphate.

The group began taking control of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014. It started with Fallujah in Iraq in January 2014. It ended with the fall of Mosul in June 2014. Its rapid advance across Iraq and Syria has:

  • displaced millions of people and caused the death of thousands
  • undermined stability in Iraq and the region
  • posed a threat to international security

Daesh has fighters across Iraq and Syria. A number of these are foreign recruits.

International response

The United States President authorized targeted military intervention in Iraq on August 7, 2014.  A United States-led Coalition is now working to dismantle and ultimately defeat Daesh. The Coalition includes many of Canada’s closest allies and partners. It also includes important regional partners.

The Global Coalition has been effective. At the end of 2016, Iraqi security forces have taken back more than 60% of the territory initially controlled by Daesh in Iraq. In October 2016, they started their campaign to retake Mosul from Daesh. Mosul is the last major center of Daesh control in Iraq.

In Syria, as of the end of 2016, Daesh has lost approximately 28% of the territory it once held. Raqqa is Daesh’s self-proclaimed capital. In early November 2016, the Syrian Democratic Forces began an operation to isolate Raqqa. 

Milestones/ Mission Timeline

  • RCAF aircraft made 25 flights between August 28 and September 26, 2014. They delivered more than 1,600,000 pounds of military supplies to Iraq.
  • October 28, 2014 – All ATF-I air assets arrived in Kuwait.
  • October 30, 2014 – Two CF-188 Hornets, one CP-140 Aurora and one CC-150T Polaris flew their first missions as part of the Global Coalition. The two CF-188 Hornets did not conduct any airstrike during this first sortie. The first successful ATF-I missions confirmed that Canadian air assets had been integrated in the Global Coalition.
  • November 2, 2014 – CF-188 Hornets conducted Canada’s first combat airstrike on Daesh targets.
  • March 30, 2015 – The CAF mission was formally extended for as many as 12 months and expanded into Syria.
  • February 8, 2016 – The Government of Canada announced its renewed and enhanced whole-of-government approach to the fight against Daesh. The mission was extended until March 31, 2017.
  • February 8, 2016 – The Government of Canada announced that the CAF will cease airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria by February 22, 2016.
  • February 15, 2016 – The CAF ceased airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria.
  • March 2016 – The Coalition Ministerial Liaison Team was launched. It was led by Canadian Brigadier-General David Anderson.
  • May 2016 – The all-source intelligence centre was stood up.
  • May 2016 – 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron sent three CH-146 Griffon helicopters to Northern Iraq to form a Tactical Aviation Detachment.
  • October 6, 2016 – 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron assumed command of the Tactical Aviation Detachment.
  • November 2016 – The CAF assumed the lead of a Coalition Role 2 medical facility in Northern Iraq.
  • March 31, 2017 – The Government of Canada announced it has extended Operation IMPACT until June 30, 2017.

  • April 24, 2017 – 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron assumed command of the Tactical Aviation Detachment of Air Task Force-Iraq from 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron  

Delivery of military supplies to Iraq

The CAF delivered military supplies to Iraq in 2014.  Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft made 25 flights between August 28 and September 26. They carried more than 1,600,000 pounds (725,000 kilograms) of donated supplies. The supplies were delivered to security forces working in Baghdad and Erbil. The CAF worked with military partners, including the United Kingdom and the United States. The military supplies came from allied countries. They included:

  • small arms
  • ammunition
  • other military equipment

Cost

Canada has allocated about $305.9 million towards extending and refocusing the mission. This includes $41.9 million for bringing CAF members and equipment back to Canada in 2016-17.

External Links

Government of Canada

International

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