Some of the estimated 500 Canadian troops in Iraq will be moved temporarily to neighbouring Kuwait in the coming days to ensure their safety amid rising tensions in the region, a top Canadian military official said. The repositioning of troops comes amid a temporary suspension of NATO's training mission in Iraq over security concerns.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said it was shifting some of its troops out of Iraq amid tensions over the killing of Iran's Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike in Baghdad last week. "We call on the Iraqi authorities to continue to provide the coalition with the necessary support", they said.
Regional tensions remain high after Iran fired missiles at two bases in Iraq used by United States forces in retaliation for the USA killing of its top military commander.
General Jonathan Vance made the comment to military families on Twitter.
Matthew Fisher, a veteran Canadian foreign correspondent and a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said Ottawa would have to rely on the US fire power and airlift capability to extract Canadian troops from Iraq if the security situation in the country deteriorates further.
Stano told EUobserver there is also no EU military presence in Iraq, noting that in Iran the EU is represented locally via the EU Council's rotating presidency - now held by Croatia. Zarif's tweet follows Iran's missile attack that was in revenge for the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike last week in Baghdad.
Transport Canada said it is closely monitoring the situation in the region.
Meanwhile, Transport Canada announced that Air Canada had modified its flight routes to ensure safety of flights to the Middle East and through Middle Eastern airspace. Soleimani was commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Quds Force. There were also reports of US forces being put on high alert over fears of Iranian drone attacks. "In fact, in my conversations with my counterpart, the Iraqi defense minister, I conveyed to him that we do want to stay in Iraq and we want to continue the important defeat ISIS mission".
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed the situation in Iraq with a number of world leaders on Tuesday and Monday.
The U.S. decision to assassinate Soleimani caught Washington's allies, including Canada, by surprise.
In a phone call with NATO Secretary General on Monday, Trudeau reiterated Ottawa's commitment to the success of the Canadian-led NATO training mission in Iraq, officials said.
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke to Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Tuesday to say the alliance remains committed to the fight against the Islamic State group (IS) and would resume training activities - suspended after Soleimani's death - as soon as security improves.