The expansion of Canada's mission against ISIS into Syria became reality Wednesday as Defence Minister Jason Kenney announced Canadian planes had struck their first targets across the Iraq-Syria border.
Kenney announced the strikes on Twitter moments before the official news release went out:
The @RCAF_ARC, joined by coalition partners, conducted its first successful airstrike of an ISIL terrorist target in Syria today.— Jason Kenney ن (@jkenney) April 8, 2015
Today's @RCAF_ARC / coalition air strike hit an ISIL garrison near Ar Raqqah. Canada is helping to ensure that ISIL has no safe haven.— Jason Kenney ن (@jkenney) April 8, 2015
More details were revealed in the official news release including the fact that while this was the first air strike, it was not the first sortie.
National Defence revealed that three previous sorties have taken places but without striking any targets.
As for the strike Wednesday the department described it this way:
Following the planning and coordination process conducted with our coalition partners, two Canadian CF-18s, using precision-guided munitions, were involved in an airstrike against an ISIL garrison near Ar Raqqah, Syria. A total of 10 coalition aircraft, including six aircraft from the US were involved in this airstrike.
MPs voted last week to expand Canada's mission to include air strikes in Syria.
While the Conservative supported the move, the NDP and Liberals voted against it.
“This first airstrike under the expanded mandate demonstrates our Government's firm resolve to tackle the threat of terrorism against Canada and to promote international security and stability," Defence Minister Jason Kenney said in a statement.