CF-18s hit targets as Kurds launch offensive to break mountain siege

Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets depart after refueling with a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, Thursday, Â Oct. 30, 2014, over Iraq.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Perry Aston

OTTAWA - Canadian warplanes have been in action in Iraq once again, bombing enemy targets ahead of Kurdish Peshmerga forces who are pushing to break the siege in the Sinjar mountains.

The region along the Syrian border was home to many members of the Yazidi minority before extremist fighters swept in last August, killing or abducting hundreds and prompting tens of thousands of refugees to flee through the mountains.

Col. Dan Constable, the commander of Canada's task force for the Iraq mission, says two CF-18s bombed an enemy fighting position about 100 kilometres northwest of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city.

It is part of a stepped-up air campaign by the U.S.-led coalition battling militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The coalition carried out 61 strike missions from Dec. 15-17.

The Peshmerga, according to local media reports, launched a two-pronged assault on the region Wednesday and claimed some success with the apparent liberation of three villages.

Constable says he believes there are signs ISIL has over-extended itself, but declined to characterize the kind of fight Kurdish forces are facing on the road to Sinjar.


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