Canada responds to claims that it isn't helping Syrian citizens

A Canadian government spokesperson said that Canadian officials are cooperating with Syrian Kurdish authorities as well as international organizations to collect information and assist Canadian citizens held in Syria.

Canada responds to claims that it isn't helping Syrian citizens

Sabrina Williams spoke on behalf of Canada's Ministry of Global Affairs. She stated that Canada's ability to provide consular aid in Syria is "extremely limited."

Williams' comments to The Associated Press were in response to allegations by Human Rights Watch, that Canadian authorities prevented a Canadian woman from returning home to receive life-saving medical treatment.

New York-based international rights group, Kimberly Polman (49) and a child below 12 years old were identified as the "gravely ill" Canadians. To protect their privacy, it withheld additional details about the child who is not related or related to Polman.

The AP met Polman earlier this month at the Roj Camp in Syria, where she had been living for three years. She appeared tired and stated that she had kidney disease, high blood pressure, and other issues. She said that she contracted hepatitis four more times during her time at camp. Williams didn't elaborate on the Canadian government's plans, but stated that it is legal to not disclose any further information.

Nearly 50 Canadian citizens are currently held in camps in northeastern Syria. Some of these people have been there since before the Islamic State group declared its caliphate and lost any land. According to HRW, more than half of Canadians who are held there are children. Most of them are under 7 years old.

These children are among the tens of thousands of women from around 60 countries held in camps by U.S-backed Kurdish fighters. Many of them are widows, children and wives of IS fighters.

While a few countries have agreed that their citizens will be repatriated, many other countries, including Canada have not.