March 31, 2015 / 1:07 AM / 2 years ago

Canadian Parliament backs air strikes on Islamic State in Syria

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper stands to vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 30, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian legislators on Monday voted to back the government’s plans to bomb Islamic State positions in Syria, a move that opposition parties say threatens to drag Canada into a long war.

The House of Commons approved the plan 142-129. The result was never in doubt, since the ruling Conservatives have a majority in the chamber.

The vote also approved the extension of Canada’s six-month mission by a year to the end of March 2016.

Canada has around 70 special forces troops in northern Iraq and six Canadian jets are taking part in U.S.-led bombing attacks against Islamic State in Iraq.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has made security a main plank of his platform in the run-up to an October election, last week said Canada needed to strike against Islamic State safe havens in Syria.

Polls show Harper will have a tough time retaining power in October. The New Democrats and the Liberals - the two main opposition parties - say Canadian attacks in Syria will only help prop up President Bashar al-Assad.

Reporting by David Ljunggren and Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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