This Quebecer is fighting to bring home Canadian children stuck in Syrian refugee camps

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By Iman Kassam and Adam Kovac, CTV News Montreal 

A new documentary is shedding light on the realities faced by those living in Syrian refugee camps, which includes 26 Canadian children.

'Les Poussieres de Daech' follows Quebecer Leila Sakhir as she visits her two-year-old niece for the first time in one of the camps.

“My niece was born in Syria two years ago because my brother left here to go join ISIS in Syria,” said Sakhir.

Sakhir said her niece is legally a Canadian citizen but is stuck in the Kurdish-led camp.

“We have all the resources here to take care of them in Canada,” she said. “Families are here, they're ready to have the kids and take care of them.”

Sakhir is part of a group calling on the federal government to bring the children home. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that because Canada has no diplomatic ties to Syria, it would be too dangerous to send people there to do so.

NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice and Quebec immigration lawyer Stephane Handfield said the documentary proves otherwise.

“This team has just shown us that it's possible to go there, that it's possible to go into the camps, talk to the Kurdish forces who are ready to collaborate with Canadians,” said Boulerice.

The pair have joined Sakhir in her fight to force the government to repatriate the children. A recent report from Human Rights Watch found the Canadian government “may be unlawfully withholding or limiting effective consular assistance to its citizens detained in northeast Syria... based on their suspected links to ISIS.” 

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