Reference News Network reported on January 8 Foreign media said that a Canadian man who had traveled to Syria to seek an adventurous trip was detained in Syria. The Canadian Foreign Ministry said that they could do nothing about it.
According to the Canadian Global Mail website reported on January 4, the man from British Columbia, Canada, his mother Leclerc said that he has lost contact with his 44-year-old son Baxter for more than a month.
Leclerc said that Baxter sent her messages every day since she arrived in Syria on November 26, 2018, but Baxter lost contact after December 1.
Leclerc describes her son as a world traveler and adventurer. At the invitation of his girlfriend, he went to a village near the Syrian-Lebanese border. The relative of his girlfriend is currently living in Pennsylvania, but will visit the village on a regular basis.
On the way, Baxter's flight to the Lebanese capital Beirut was delayed, so his luggage was later than himself. His girlfriend's relatives arranged for a driver to pick up at Beirut Airport and send him to the village. The driver promised that he would help Baxter bring the baggage back and let him stay there, but the driver never returned.
Baxter was told after returning to the border that the driver was detained because there was a metal detector in the trunk that was a prohibited item.
Leclerc explained that his son Baxter was a history fan, carrying a metal detector for his hobby, but he did not realize that the item was not allowed to be brought into the country.
Afterwards, Baxter informed the border officials that the suitcase was his, but they did not detain him or release the driver. Four or five days later, the driver's family began to worry, and Baxter returned again on December 2, stating responsibility, while his girlfriend's relatives urged him to leave the country because the situation was worrying.
Leclerc said that she had never received news from Baxter since then, which made her feel depressed. The Canadian Department of Global Affairs initially told her that the department could not do anything because Canada did not have an operating embassy in Syria, and later said that it might be active through the Romanian Embassy.
When asked about Baxter, the Canadian Department of Global Affairs confirmed that a Canadian was detained in Syria but did not provide other details and did not confirm the identity of the detainee.
After the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, the Canadian government has warned Canadian citizens not to travel to Syria since 2011. In 2012, Canada cut off diplomatic relations with Syria, expelled Syrian diplomats and closed the embassy in Syria.
A spokesman for the Canadian Department of Global Affairs said that limited family consular services are being offered to the family and individuals. Considering the local security situation, the consular assistance that the Canadian government can provide anywhere in Syria is extremely limited.