1. Home
  2. Politics
  3. Federal Politics

Mother of Canadian girl freed from ISIS detention camp in Syria heading to Canada soon

'We expect she will be on a flight very early next week,' says lawyer Paul Champ

Children and women are walking in a camp.

Children and women in Al-Roj detention camp near the border between Syria and Iraq. A Canadian woman who had been held in the camp has been issued documents by the federal government so she can return to Canada and be reunited with her daughter, who was released from the camp last March.

Photo: Stephanie Jenzer/CBC


The Canadian government has issued an emergency passport to the mother of a young girl who was freed (new window) from an ISIS detention camp in northeastern Syria earlier this year so she can return home to Canada and reunite with her daughter.

A copy of an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada letter sent to the woman's lawyer, Paul Champ, was shared with CBC by Champ.

Needless to say, our client is overwhelmed and happy, he said.

Its been over eight months since she saw her daughter and four months of waiting in Erbil, [Iraq]. And she hasn't been to Canada in over seven years. We expect she will be on a flight very early next week.

Working with former U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith, the woman was able to get her daughter, who was four at the time, out of the Al Roj camp (new window) last March and into Iraq, from where she flew to Canada.

The camp houses more than 700 families of suspected ISIS militants and is under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Galbraith helped get the mother released (new window) from the camp a few months after her daughter left, but she was waiting in Erbil for the proper documents from the Canadian government.

On Nov. 11, the government issued her an emergency travel document.

A blurred photo of the woman's four-year old daughter.

The woman's daughter, who was four at the time, was released from the detention camp for family members of suspected ISIS fighters in northeast Syria with the help of former U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith.

Photo: Submitted by Human Rights Watch

While the government of Canada is unable to guarantee the safety and security of Canadians outside of Canada, Canadian officials have engaged with the competent local authorities in support of [name redacted's] continued safety in Erbil, the letter said.

The local authorities are well aware of the importance Canada place on her well-being,

The Canadian government has been under pressure from human rights advocates to repatriate and provide adequate consular assistance to dozens of citizens currently detained in northeast Syria — along with their children (new window) in some cases — because of alleged ties to ISIS.

A 2020 report from the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch accused the government of flouting its international human rights obligations and urged Ottawa to bring all of its detained citizens home from camps and prisons controlled by Kurdish forces to rehabilitate them and prosecute anyone accused of a crime.

WATCH | Women describe life in ISIS detention camp:

CBC News · With files from Travis Dhanraj and Margaret Evans