Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's great to be back.
To all members of the committee, thank you very much for inviting me to speak before you. At the outset, I want you to know that I truly anticipate and look forward to these sessions. In my role, I think it's important to be able to answer your questions and give you the information that you want, need and deserve.
Today, I will provide you with an update about Operation Impact. Our specific military activities for this operation have evolved over time, but I want you to know the aim of Operation Impact remains clear and unchanged. We are one of 79 coalition members committed to defeating Daesh and setting the conditions for security and stability in the region. As you know, Daesh has lost over 98% of the territory it once held. Almost eight million people have been liberated from their control and the coalition has trained and equipped more than 170,000 members of the Iraqi security forces.
All that to say that the coalition's efforts have been effective. Daesh's territorial control has been severely reduced. People are returning to their homes and rebuilding their lives.
The coalition is moving into a phase of stabilization. In other words, it is focusing on aiding the Government of Iraq in restoring, maintaining and establishing civil order and governance.
The fight is not over. There is more work to be done.
Daesh has moved underground. Although significantly weakened, it is likely that the group will continue to launch small-scale attacks and try to reorganize. The prevailing ideology and instability that enabled it to rise are not yet defeated. Therefore, this is not a risk-free environment, but I can assure you that the men and women on the ground, your soldiers, are well trained and carefully selected for their expertise.
We conduct rigorous planning to make sure our people have the right equipment, the right support, and the right command and control structures. In short, we ensure that they have everything they need to accomplish their tasks.
We have been gradually shifting from achieving tactical effects to setting the conditions for regional stability and security.
As we move forward, we will remain flexible to meet the evolving demands of the campaign. In the air, our Polaris tanker has enabled coalition partners to fly longer and farther, which enhances their operational effectiveness. Our C-130 Hercules aircraft have transported more than eight million pounds of cargo.
In northern Iraq, three CH-146 Griffon helicopters provide our deployed personnel with tactical airlift, transporting Canadian troops, equipment and supplies, who are conducting the train, advise and assist mission to support the ISF. Also in northern Iraq, we have led our role 2 medical facilities since October 2016. We have provided medical and dental care to over 2,500 people.
On the intelligence front, we have a team that collects, synthesizes and analyzes intelligence to support the coalition. This is used to protect our partner forces and plan operations.
In moving to more of a regional outlook, we have multiple teams working to build resilience and enable long-term security and stability. Brigadier-General Rob Delaney leads the ministerial liaison team. We took on that leadership role in 2016 and have been working to build enduring relationships with the Iraqi government. In the past year and a half, we have also increased our focus on training. Our combat engineers are delivering counter-improvised explosive device training and route clearance training to Iraqi security forces. This September, we started a training facility, called Q-West, in the north. We've trained over 500 Iraqi security forces members thus far. In Jordan and Lebanon, our training and assistance teams are working to build our partners' military capacities.
Now, I would like to take a moment to clarify a few points about our special operations forces' train, advise and assist mission. Early on during Operation Impact, special operations forces' members partnered with the Kurdish peshmerga, who were facing an immediate threat as Daesh swept over northern Iraq. In coordination with our coalition partners, we determined that we could achieve the greatest effect by working with them. Our train, advise and assist efforts enabled the Kurdish security forces to refine their skills, bolster their defences and set the stage for their participation in the Mosul operation in October 2016.
As you know, the Iraqi security forces successfully took back Mosul last summer. Canada was a key contributor to this success, in an advisory capacity at the tactical level.
As the campaign evolved—from degrading Daesh, to counterattack, to defeating their organized efforts—our partnerships have also evolved.
In order to support Iraqi-led efforts in Mosul, we partnered with select Iraqi security force units—all of which were carefully vetted.
These decisions were based on the coalition campaign requirements, and based on where our special operations forces members could provide the most effective contribution.
We continue to take that approach, working with specific Iraqi units to achieve the greatest effect in maintaining security.
Looking to the future, in addition to other activities under Operation Impact, a Canadian will lead the NATO training mission in Iraq. This mission is not a replacement of the coalition. It's complementary. Our contribution to the NATO mission includes up to 250 troops. A number of Canadians have already arrived and are setting up, and the mission is expected to start fully early in the new year. It's being led by Major-General Dany Fortin, late of commanding the 1st Canadian Division. I have great confidence in his leadership.
The NATO mission will provide training to Iraqi security forces and help Iraq build a more effective national defence and security structure. We are taking a train-the-trainer approach to create sustainable change, particularly in their educational and training institutions. Along with our allies, we'll help our Iraqi partners to develop skills in key areas like bomb disposal, combat medicine and logistics. Throughout all of it, we will place emphasis on the law of armed conflict.
To conclude, as we move forward, the Canadian Armed Forces will be contributing to both coalition and NATO efforts in the region during Operation Impact. These efforts are being well coordinated and are complementary to each other. This is a complex problem that cannot be solved by military might alone. Our efforts are part of a broader international and Government of Canada strategy, which includes humanitarian assistance, development aid and political and security sector reform.
As the conditions in Iraq and the region evolve, I will continue to work with the minister, the deputy minister, and our allies and partners to develop, execute and assess our plans. Through all of that, ladies and gentlemen, our deployed men and women are doing what they do best. They're professional, they lead and they demonstrate every day operational excellence in challenging areas of operations.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I will be very happy to take your questions.