(Ottawa) Six Canadian children are about to leave a prison camp in Syria and board a plane for Canada. However, they will be separated from their mother, who cannot come with them because federal officials have not completed the security assessment for this Quebec woman, family advocates claim.

The federal government has given the woman until Sunday to decide whether her six children will join other Canadians on the repatriation flight, which is expected to leave any day, or stay with her in Syria, said said Alexandra Bain of Families Against Violent Extremism.

” I’m shocked. It makes no sense, Bain said in an interview on Saturday. This is not how I expect Canada to behave. »

These young Canadians are among many foreign nationals in Syrian camps run by Kurdish forces who have regained control of the region that was occupied by the Daesh group, also known as the Islamic State.

The children, ages 3 to 16, have no family in Quebec, said Bain, whose organization helps families whose loved ones are caught up in violent extremist groups. At least two of the six children were born in Syria. There is a plan for Quebec social service agencies to place the six children, in three groups of two.

The mother, who does not know if or when she will be allowed to leave al-Roj camp in northeast Syria, is worried about how she will maintain contact with her children, according to Ms Bain.

“She’s doing this for her children and she’s afraid of doing the wrong thing. »

Lawyer Lawrence Greenspon, who helps the family, says “it’s a choice any parent should never have to make.”

Ms. Bain and Mr. Greenspon asked that the woman’s name not be released due to the sensitive nature of the case and privacy concerns.

The lawyer argued in Federal Court, on behalf of several men, women and children detained in Syria, that Global Affairs Canada must arrange for their return, saying failure to do so violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Mr. Greenspon reached an agreement with the federal government in January to repatriate six Canadian women and 13 children who had been involved in the lawsuit. All 19 are expected to be on the imminent repatriation flight from Syria.

Global Affairs Canada did not react immediately to questions about the case of this Quebec family.

Ms. Bain received a letter from Global Affairs dated November 24 stating that the woman and her six children met the criteria for federal assistance to Canadians detained in the region, set out in the government’s January 2021 policy framework.

The letter reported threats against the woman and her children “given the unsafe security conditions inside the camp.” He also cited reports of declining health and living conditions, including possible cholera outbreaks and intermittent access to food and clean water.

Ms. Bain added that the woman was beaten and assaulted while in custody.

As part of repatriation procedures, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) recently conducted interviews with Canadian detainees in Syria. Last Wednesday, the Quebecer spoke with RCMP officers, an experience she found confusing and terrifying. The next day, “they told her she couldn’t come back,” it said.