Canadian children held in Syrian detention camp

5-year-old girl, Amira, freed from an ISIS detention camp in northeastern Syria by the Canadian government on Monday. Amira, originally living in Canada, was repatriated for her connection to ISIS supporters, as it is claimed her Canadian-born father was as ISIS supporter killed in 2019. Amira at such a young age had to undergo the tragedy and trauma of losing a father and her entire family including her mother and siblings, above all, her only crime is being the daughter of an ISIS supporter? Most people would agree this is unfair.

After the news about Amira being brought back to Canada, news which was delivered by Global Affairs Canada and Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, her family, which consists of grandparents and uncles and aunts, is very happy to be reunited, as her uncle, Ibrahim, says in a statement ‘We are delighted by this news and would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has made this possible. We would kindly request privacy as my niece transitions into her new life in Canada.”

But the question that still remains is how did the Canadian government allow the repatriation of this young girl and hundreds of other little children and women in the first place, when they had committed no crime? This case holds great significance and questions the federal government, as they refused to repatriate any Canadian citizens from detention facilities for ISIS captives and their families claiming it was too dangerous for Canadian officials. So, how was it possible to save Amira, despite the worsening situation in Syria, as said by the Prime Minister himself. The interesting point to note is that Kurdish Authorities controlling the concentration camps in northeast Syria had agreed a very long time ago to free Amira, but the Canadian government rejected the offer. Amira’s freedom is linked to her own uncle’s willing attitude to approach every legal action to bring her back, however, every step he took the federal government did not support him, he claims that the federal government was unwilling to even take a single step to enable the repatriation of Amira in the first place.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole urged the government to reunite children with their families in Canada more than a year ago. “Finally, we are seeing some action from this Liberal government. We want to see a plan to reunite other Canadian children who are trapped in Syrian camps through no fault of their own with their families here in Canada.” He continues by saying that, “Conservatives have been clear that Canadians who join ISIS need to be held accountable for their actions and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but we must have compassion for the young Canadian children trapped overseas.” Amira’s story brings hope to many families trying to bring back their relatives who have been repatriated. Dozens of Canadians, including 24 children and admitted ISIS fighters, remain at detention camps and makeshift prisons in the region, under the control of Kurdish fighters. Many other countries are ahead of Canada and on the move to free more innocent citizens from ISIS’s clutches.  Last week, the United States said it had repatriated 27 Americans held by the Syrian Democratic Forces, including all 10 who faced terrorism charges in U.S. courts. On the contrary, Canada has now returned just one child and has not laid charges against any of the alleged Canadian ISIS members captured by the SDF. Canada almost stands alone, as they refuse to rescue orphaned citizens trapped in Syria. Amira’s uncle writes “I continue to be astonished, by the lengths the Canadian government will go to deny my poor niece her basic human rights.”

By Yusra Adil

Yura Adil is a writer for www.youthinpolitics.net

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