Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan arrived in Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s northern Kurdish region, on Sunday.
He was welcomed by Kurdish Interior Minister Karim Sinjari and Kurdish Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir.
A spokeswoman for Sajjan says the purpose of the trip was to meet with defence and security officials in the region and visit Canadian military personnel.
She says Sajjan met with his Iraqi counterpart in Baghdad and with Kurdish leaders in Irbil.
The defence minister recently visited the United Kingdom, where his British counterpart Michael Fallon and he discussed a collaboration “on issues of common interest,” which included Canada’s contribution to the fight against the Islamic State.
Canada’s military says that several of the 69 Canadian trainers currently deployed in Iraq, along with hundreds of local troops, came under fire from approximately 500 IS fighters near Mosul last week. They fired back and managed to hold the line. Canadian CF-18 fighter jets also pounded an ISIL position near Mosul.
Canadian participation in the fighting came as the new Liberal government is actively considering when to withdraw its six CF-18s from combat and how to beef up the ground training mission of local forces.
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion told Global News that a decision on the future of our troops in Iraq will be coming soon.
“The goal that we have is to be sure that the Canadian effort in the coalition will compliment what our allies are doing and will be very effective to fight these terrorist groups,” Dion said.
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With files from the Associated Press.