Canada votes to bomb to Daesh in Syria and Iraq
Canadian forces already joined the coalition against Daesh in Iraq, but this is the first time troops will be sent to fight in Syria. (AFP/File)
Canadian lawmakers voted on Monday to extend a campaign of airstrikes against the Islamic State group (ISIS) [Daesh] and for the first time strike at it in Syria as well as in Iraq, AFP reports.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives, wielding a majority in the House of Commons, pushed through a motion on enlarging the mission in a vote 142 to 129, despite opposition parties' vigorous objections.
Canada first joined the airstrikes on ISIS in November. Its expanded air campaign was authorized until March 30, 2016.
Harper has defended the need for sorties into Syria, saying ISIS "must cease to have any safe haven in Syria."
He pointed to its movement of heavy equipment across the Iraqi border into Syria.
The prime minister also noted that ISIS fighters have threatened Canada in propaganda videos.
At least six Canadians have died over the last two years fighting alongside extremists in Syria and Iraq.
In the aftermath of two jihadist-inspired attacks in Ottawa and rural Quebec last October, a majority of Canadians have told pollsters they support the military mission against ISIS.
Opposition parties, however, warned that airstrikes against ISIS in Syria may implicitly aid Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and embroil Canada in a regional conflict that could drag on for decades.
New Democratic Party Leader Thomas Mulcair decried the move "expanding a misguided war in Iraq to a dangerous new phase in Syria."
"This is simply not Canada's war to fight," he said