International desk, Jan 08: Canada is withdrawing some soldiers from Iraq to Kuwait, Canada’s Chief of Defense Staff Jonathan Vance said Tuesday.Vance announced the move in a letter on Twitter to the families of Canadian soldiers in Iraq and the surrounding region on Tuesday, after Germany and several other states have withdrawn some of their troops, Xinhua reports..
The letter said the decision to withdraw an unspecified number of troops was made alongside NATO and Canada’s allies to ensure their safety and security.
Canada reportedly has about 500 soldiers in Iraq. They are for NATO’s “non-combat, advisory and training mission” in the country.
Tensions have escalated across the region after a U.S. airstrike killed Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad International Airport last Friday. Soleimani was commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Quds Force.
The United States has urged its citizens in Iraq to leave “immediately,” following the air attack.
Iran has vowed “harsh retaliation” against the United States for what Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called a “heinous crime” after Soleimani was “assassinated”.
Iraq’s parliament and government have called for the forced withdrawal of Western troops from the country.
Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan announced Saturday that Canada temporarily suspended a Canada-commanding NATO training mission in Iraq.
Canada also updated a travel advisory for its citizens to Middle East countries due to an increased threat of military attacks, asking Canadian citizens in Iraq to consider leaving the country.