CF-18s hit target in Syria near Assad forces; commander denies co-ordination

OTTAWA — The commander of Canada’s bombing campaign in the Middle East says recent strikes in Syria were not co-ordinated with the government of Bashar Assad, even though its forces were operating in the area at the time.

Two CF-18 jets carried out airstrikes this week near the eastern city of Al Hasakah, a hotly contested region where units loyal to Assad recaptured some territory from extremists last weekend.

The independent Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said as many as 20 Syrian soldiers and pro-government militia were killed in the lead-up to the capture, which included airstrikes by government forces.

Brig.-Gen. Lise Bourgon, who took over recently as the detachment commander at airfields in Kuwait, says the Canadian mandate against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is clear.

Bourgon says there has been no co-ordination with the government of Syria.

She also says there are no western forces on the ground spotting targets in Syria and that decisions on where to strike are made using aerial surveillance and reconnaissance.

Bourgon wouldn’t go into details to say if there had been contacts between Syrian planes and coalition planes, but once again underlined there was no arrangement.

The Canadian Press