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Canada is involved in the non-international armed conflict against the Islamic State group by providing military support to the coalition airstrikes in Iraq.

Canada joined the coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq and launched its first airstrike in November 2014. In March 2015, Canada extended its mission and started to participate in airstrikes against Islamic State group targets in Syria. In its letter to the Security Council, Canada based its action on the right to individual and collective self-defene because the Islamic State group was operating from safe havens inside Syria. Letter Dated 31 March 2015 from the Chargé d'affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN Addressed to the President of the Security Council, UN doc S/2015/221, 31 March 2015.  Canada ceased airstrikes operations in Iraq and Syria in February 2016. 'Canadian Aarmed Forces Cease Airstrikes Operations in Iraq and Syria', News Release, Government of Canada, 17 February 2016. However, Canada continues to be a party to the non-international armed conflict in Iraq because it continues to provide air-to-air fuelling assistance and reconnaissance flights in support of the coalition in Iraq. Under the support-based approach to determine who is a party to a conflict, such action means that Canada is still a party to the conflict. For further information on who is considered a party to an armed conflict, see ‘contemporary challenges – multinational forces: who is a party to the conflict?’ in our classification section.  There a pre-existing armed conflict in Iraq; there is a sufficiently close link between the action of Canadian Air Forces and the harm caused to the Islamic State group by coalition airstrikes; and such action takes place pursuant to an official decision of the Canadian government. See the information provided for by the Canadian Ministry of Defense on Operation IMPACTThese missions continued after the announcement that Canada temporarily suspended advising and assisting Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the aftermath of the Kurdish independence referendum in September 2017. 

Last updated: Tuesday 1st February 2022