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Fate of many Canadians held in Syrian camps still unclear despite court ruling

OTTAWA – A court action has prompted the federal government to begin repatriating several Canadians detained in Syria, but the fate of many other citizens trapped there remains unclear.

A Federal Court judge declared last week that four Canadian men being held in Syrian camps are entitled to the federal government’s help to return home.

Meantime, the government reached an agreement with one of the lawyers behind the case to begin the process of repatriating six Canadian women and 13 children from northeastern Syria.

Farida Deif, Canada director of the group Human Rights Watch, says there are believed to be about 27 other Canadian detainees in Syria.

The Canadians are among the many foreign nationals in Syrian camps and jails run by Kurdish forces that took back the battle-scarred region from the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Deif says the federal government should bring home all of the Canadians, noting they have never been charged with a crime and have not appeared before a judge to challenge their detention.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2023.


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