OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government on Tuesday said it would expand its military mission against Islamic State by launching air strikes against positions in Syria as well as Iraq.
A government motion also said Canada planned to extend its six-month mission by a year to the end of March 2016. Canada has around 70 special forces troops operating in northern Iraq and six Canadian jets are taking part in U.S.-led bombing missions against Islamic State in Iraq.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Islamic State, formally known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), poses a fundamental threat to Canada.
"Continuing to degrade ISIL will require striking its operations and infrastructure where they are located, including in Syria," said the government motion, which seeks parliamentary approval for air strikes in both Iraq and Syria.
The motion will undoubtedly be adopted by legislators, since Harper's ruling Conservatives have a majority in the House of Commons.
Canada will become the second NATO member nation after the United States to attack Islamic State positions in Syria, which have also been hit by jets from Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish)