Federal Court set to hear case about repatriating Canadians detained in Syria

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OTTAWA - A Federal Court is slated to begin two days of hearings today into the Liberal government’s refusal to repatriate 19 Canadian women and children who are being held in northeastern Syria.

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OTTAWA – A Federal Court is slated to begin two days of hearings today into the Liberal government’s refusal to repatriate 19 Canadian women and children who are being held in northeastern Syria.

Family members for the six women and 13 children are expected to argue that the government’s refusal to help them, as well as some Canadian men, amounts to a breach of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The court hearings come as a document filed in the case last week said Global Affairs Canada had determined the 19 Canadians have met a threshold for providing extraordinary assistance.

A general view of Karma camp for in internally displaced Syrians, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022 by the village of Atma, Idlib Prince, Syria. Thousands of Syrians at the Karama camp and other gatherings for the displaced in Idlib are suffering from an exceptionally cold and wet winter with little to no diesel or other means to keep warm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Omar Albam

Global Affairs says in the document that it has begun assessments to determine whether to provide that assistance.

A handful of women and children have returned to Canada from the region in recent years, but for the most part, Canada has not followed the path of other countries that have successfully repatriated citizens.

The Canadian citizens are among the many foreign nationals in Syrian camps run by Kurdish forces that reclaimed the war-torn region from the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2022.

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