(OTTAWA) A lawyer who works for the repatriation of Canadians detained in Syria says there is new information about the two women and three children who were supposed to return to Canada last month.
Lawrence Greenspon says Global Affairs Canada confirmed that the department had recently been in contact with Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria about the five Canadians.
Mr. Greenspon says the department obtained assurances that Kurdish authorities would help Ottawa facilitate their repatriation – as they had done in April for 14 other Canadians.
At that time, the two women and their three children who are still there were unable to show up for their repatriation flight to Canada.
The lawyer adds that no timetable has been specified, but he believes that this news gives the families of the two women and three young people hope for an early repatriation.
Edmonton lawyer Zachary Al-Khatib, who also represents the five Canadians, said that in mid-April one of the women was able to make a brief phone call to a family member in Canada, but that the call had been interrupted.
He then said that the woman indicated that they were alive and had been transferred to al-Roj camp, but that they had been mistreated, needed medical attention and had all their belongings confiscated.
Global Affairs Canada spokesman Grantly Franklin said Thursday that the department had received “credible information” that the women and children had been located in al-Roj camp, but he did not. gave no further details.
Mr. Greenspon had reached an agreement in January with the federal government to repatriate a total of six Canadian women and 13 children who were part of a lawsuit against Ottawa in court. Four Canadian women and 10 children returned home on April 6.
As long as conditions allow, Global Affairs will continue to work toward the deal, Mr. Franklin said. “For confidentiality and operational security reasons, we cannot comment further,” he said.
Many foreign nationals are in Syrian camps run by Kurdish forces who have retaken the war-torn region from the armed group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.