As It Happens

Canadian woman fears family in Syria kidnapped by ISIS

Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Assyrian Christians are reported to have been kidnapped by ISIS in northern Syria.
Assyrian Christian civilians sit on a pick-up truck with their belongings as they flee the town of Tel Tamr in northern Syria on February 25, 2015. (REUTERS/Rodi Said )

A Canadian woman of Syrian origin says her relatives are among the victims of the latest attack by the militant group ISIS on minority groups. The reports vary, but somewhere between 90 and 300 Assyrian Christians are feared to have been kidnapped by ISIS in northern Syria.

Flora Younan, who lives in Innisfil, Ontario, says that her brother-in-law was on duty guarding his village in northern Syria when ISIS attacked. "For sure we have feeling that for sure he's killed," Younan tells As it Happens host Carol Off.  She doesn't know if he survived. 

For reasons that are still unknown, ISIS stormed villages populated by the ethnic minority on Monday, reportedly abducting women and young girls, and sending thousands of civilians fleeing.

Younan says other family members managed to flee to a neighbouring village where they are taking refuge in a church. But she says they also have nowhere else to go if ISIS goes after them again.

Younan says that before Monday's attack, she had been trying in vain to sponsor some of her relatives to come to Canada. "I love Canada. It's my country now. They make it hard for us." 

"Please Canada. Open door. That's all we ask. Open door for these people. Innocent people, innocent kids."