Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reaffirmed on Wednesday that Canada will stop participating in allied air strikes against the DAESH terror group, stating that the battle could not be won through the air, but only by confronting the enemy on land.
"Ultimately, conflicts like this need to have their resolutions on the ground," he said during a question-and-answer session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Trudeau said Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets would be grounded "in exchange for another way of military involvement, probably around training and such things that can help local troops bring the battle directly towards terrorists," Canadian media reported.
His remarks were in response to a question about his election campaign pledge to end Canada’s involvement in air strikes in Syria and Iraq.
Trudeau said Canada will instead be providing military training just like it did in Afghanistan, as its troops have "tremendous expertise" in this field.
"We definitely have much more to contribute on helping local militia and troops to be more effective in the direct fight."
Canada's opposition Conservative party has criticised Trudeau’s Liberal government for its announcement it would be exiting the air strike campaign.
Canada was not invited to a meeting Wednesday of defence ministers of several countries who discussed ways to boost fight against DAESH.
Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said the exclusion was a sign that "when you are not a full partner, you don’t get invited to the table."
But Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said such meetings happen "all the time" and not being invited meant nothing.
The Syrian peace talks planned to take place on January 25 may be delayed since the major powers have not reached an agreement on which opposition groups should be invited to the meeting in Geneva.