US & Canada

Canada to 'refocus' anti-IS efforts with troop training

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters while flying from Antalya, Turkey to Manila, Philippines on 17 November to attend the APEC Summit. Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Trudeau is sticking to his plan to accept about 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of year

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to "refocus" his military's efforts in Syria to put more emphasis on the training of local ground forces.

Mr Trudeau's campaign promise to end airstrikes on Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria is being questioned after the deadly attacks in Paris.

"I've committed repeatedly to my allies that we were going to do more on the training front," Mr Trudeau said.

Canada has already deployed 69 trainers to help Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

"Training is something we do very, very well and that's something we're looking to be very helpful to other members of the coalition with to make sure Canada is doing more than its part in the war against [IS]," Mr Trudeau said.

However, Mr Trudeau would not elaborate on specifics of the new military training strategy.

"How many that will be, what form that will take, what kind of engagement we're going to have, those are things that we're going to work out," Mr Trudeau said.

Trudeau also stressed Canada's commitment to accept roughly 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year despite calls for him to reconsider.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The new Canadian prime minister will have his first meeting US President Barack Obama this week

The premiers of Quebec and Saskatchewan provinces, as well as some mayors, have criticised Trudeau's refugee policy, concerned about the logistics and the security risks.

One of the Paris attackers is believed to have entered France using a route travelled by migrants and refugees. Some in the US and Canada have called for screening procedures to be upgraded before accepting additional refugees.

"It didn't take the tragedies of Paris for us to suddenly realise that security is important," Mr Trudeau said.

He said he is "very much committed to keeping Canadians safe while we do the right thing to engage responsibly with this humanitarian crisis".

On Thursday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Manila, Mr Trudeau will meet US President Barack Obama for the first time since his Liberal party swept to power last month.