Canada sends small advance team to Middle East ahead of airstrikes

Senior government source tells The Canadian Press the team is comprised of less than a dozen people

OTTAWA – Canada has deployed a small advance team to the Middle East to finalize basing and logistics with its allies for airstrikes against the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

A senior government source told The Canadian Press that the team is comprised of less than a dozen people.

Members of Parliament are expected to vote today on the Conservative government’s decision to join a broad coalition of allies in airstrikes against the Islamic State, which has been terrorizing stretches of Iraq and Syria.

The opposition NDP and Liberals have indicated they will not support Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plan, partly out of concern Canada could be dragged into a lengthy quagmire.

The government’s majority is expected to ensure swift passage of the motion following debate in the House of Commons.

Canada would join the United States, Britain, France, Australia and others in airstrikes intended to stop the group from engaging in large-scale military movements or operating bases in the open.