The Canadian military will command a new NATO mission in Iraq set to begin this fall.
Ottawa has committed up to 250 Canadian troops and up to four Griffon helicopters to the mission, which includes a so-called “train the trainer” aspect to help the Iraqi army develop skills aimed at preventing the re-emergence of Islamic State militants and other threats to the country.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on Wednesday at the start of the NATO summit in Brussels.
It came as U.S. President Donald Trump continued to criticize NATO allies for what Trump says is insufficient defence spending and a day after Ottawa announced it was extending its participation to the NATO mission in Latvia for another four years.
About 50 Canadian troops will participate in the training programs while the bulk will be charged with providing security and running the NATO headquarters in Baghdad.
Canada assumes command of the mission, which will be led by an as yet unnamed Canadian major-general, for one year.
Under Operation IMPACT, the Canadian army is already providing training and assistance to Iraqi security forces, mainly in the country’s north.