Efforts resuming to repatriate five missing Canadians from Syria, lawyer says
OTTAWA — A lawyer working to repatriate Canadians from detention in Syria says there is fresh word about two women and three children who had originally been slated to return to Canada last month.
Lawyer Lawrence Greenspon said Global Affairs Canada has confirmed that it has recently been in contact with Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria about the five Canadians.
The department has obtained assurances the authorities will help facilitate their repatriation after they did not turn up for the flight that brought 14 other Canadians to Canada last month, he said.
Greenspon said although no time frame has been specified, it gives the families of the two women and three children hope for the return of their loved ones.
Edmonton lawyer Zachary Al-Khatib, who is also representing the five Canadians, said in mid-April one of the women was able to make a brief phone call to a family member in Canada but the call was cut off.
He said then that the woman indicated they were alive and had been moved to the al-Roj camp but had been mistreated, needed medical attention and had all their possessions taken.
Global Affairs spokesman Grantly Franklin said Thursday the department had received "credible information" that the women and children have been located in al-Roj camp, but he offered no other details.
Greenspon reached an agreement with the federal government in January to bring home six Canadian women and 13 children who had been part of a court action.
As long as conditions allow, Global Affairs will continue to work toward fulfilling the agreement, Franklin said. "Due to privacy and operational security considerations, we cannot comment further."
There are many foreign nationals in the Syrian camps run by Kurdish forces that reclaimed the war-ravaged region from the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2023.
The Canadian Press