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Canada to Launch Airstrikes on IS Positions in Syria

Coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada will expand its military mission against the Islamic State group to include airstrikes on targets in Syria.

Harper told parliament on Tuesday Canada will not seek "the express consent" of the Syrian government to launch the attacks. He said Canada must strike at the Syrian power base of the Islamic State militants.

"ISIL's fighters and much of its heavier equipment are moving freely across the Iraqi border into Syria, in part for better protection against our airstrikes," Harper said. "In our view, ISIL must cease to have any safe haven in Syria."

Canada would become the second NATO country after the United States to attack the militant group's positions in Syria, which have also been hit by jets from Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries.

Harper also said Canada's mission in Iraq in the fight against the Islamic State group will be extended by one year to March 2016.

Canadian warplanes have been taking part in U.S.-led bombing missions on Islamic State targets in Iraq. Canada has also deployed about 70 special forces troops to train Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq.