Monday , April 19 2021

B.C. adventure traveler detained in Syria for less than a month

A British Columbian man who went to Syria in search of an adventure was detained in the war-ravaged country, and the Canadian Foreign Ministry says it can do nothing to help.

The mother of Nanaimo, BC, said she had not been in contact for more than a month and was asking for help to get him home.

Andrea Leclair told the Canadian press that her 44-year-old son, Kristian Lee Baxter, sent her daily because she was worried after arriving in Syria on November 26, but she was silent after her last message on December 1.

Asked about Baxter, Global Affairs Canada has confirmed he is aware of a Canadian who was detained in Syria.

But the department did not provide any further details and would not confirm its identity, invoking the Privacy Act.

Travel Warning from 2011

The government has warned Canadians to avoid traveling to Syria since 2011, after the outbreak of a civil war that attracted foreign powers and gave rise to a multitude of militia, including a new Islamist terrorist group, leaving 500,000 dead behind.

Canada interrupted diplomatic relations with Syria in 2012, expelling diplomats and enriching its embassy.

"Consular services are provided to the family and the individual as far as possible." Given the security situation on the ground, the ability of the Canadian Government to grant consular assistance to any part of Syria is extremely limited, "Global Affairs spokesman Stefano Maron.

I want him home– Andrea Leclair, Kristian Lee Baxter's mother

Affiliation to Global Affairs warns all Canadians to avoid traveling to the country because of the war.

"Syria is not sure about personal trips," says the department's online consulting. "The attempt to make any kind of travel in this extremely dangerous security environment will put you at serious risk. Criminals, terrorists and armed groups target foreigners for terrorist attacks, assassinations and kidnappings for redemption or political gain."

The Consultative Opinion says the country is affected by battles involving small arms, tanks, artillery, aircraft fire, and chemical weapons.

A "world traveler and adventurer"

During their final video chat, Leclair said that Baxter had introduced it to the people he was visiting in a village near the country's border with Lebanon.

"Kristian is a world traveler, he was everywhere, he's an adventurer," Leclair said.

"He presented me to all of these people, he says," There are so nice people, wherever I go, feed myself and give me tea and coffee. "She only had a very nice time.

Leclair said he was frustrated with the lack of information he was able to get about Baxter. Global Canadian business initially said it could do nothing because there is no Canadian functional embassy in Syria, then said she could work through the Romanian embassy, ​​she said.

Baxter was supposed to be home on December 13, and the travel visa to Syria expired on December 12 or 13, she said.

"It's so complicated because we do not know anything," Leclair said. – I just want home.

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