12/18/2014 04:16 EST | Updated 02/17/2015 05:59 EST

Col. Daniel Constable, Canada's commander in Iraq, readies for extension

The commander of Joint Task Force Iraq says the Canadian military is remaining "flexible" as it plans to possibly stay in the region more than six months.

During a technical briefing on Thursday, Col. Daniel Constable said plans are in the works as the military awaits further direction from the federal government.

Some 600 military personnel are engaged in Canada's mission in Iraq, which involves bombing ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) targets.

"We have plans prepared that if we need to extend longer, we will do that," Constable said. "If the government decides that a six-month commitment was enough, then we have plans for redeployment as well. So we're, as you would expect, remaining flexible."

Constable said Canada's latest airstrike was carried out yesterday on a "defensive fighting position."

He said ISIS targets have "dug in" and Islamic fighters have been carving out safe havens.

Minimum 3-year fight, U.S. general says

A senior U.S. general has said the fight against ISIS could take a minimum of three years to achieve a turning point.

Constable said that same message is coming from a number of officials.

"I would say I think that is a consistent message that I have heard from a number of the high-ranking generals portray is that this fight isn't going to be over in six months," Constable said. "I think our government and our high-ranking officers have said the same thing. But my mandate is, we have a current commitment from the government of Canada to provide our forces for six months."

Constable said part of his mandate also includes providing the government with information to assist in the decision-making process.