Author Topic: 1st North American Expeditionary Force, & Canadian civilians join ground fight against ISIS  (Read 85074 times)

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Oopsie ...
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A Canadian army veteran who recently fought with Kurdish forces in Syria has been detained by immigration authorities in Australia, according to his parents.

Robert Somerville left northern Syria last month and was attempting to visit his father in Australia when he was taken to a detention centre in Brisbane. He is to be deported this week.

“He told me he was refused because he didn’t put his Kurdish name on his paperwork,” his father Richard Somerville, an Ontario man currently living in Australia, said Tuesday.

He said his son was not a dangerous person and should not have been detained. “For someone who would have been treated like a hero in Canada to be treated like a criminal in Australia is shocking,” he said.

(...)

A veteran of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry’s C Company in Edmonton, Somerville served in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. He traveled to Syria last year as a volunteer.

He told the National Post in an interview last summer he had joined the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units, or YPG, because of the atrocities committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

He narrowly escaped a suicide car bombing attack by ISIL, and early in 2016 left for Thailand before arriving in Australia on Monday. Australia has strict foreign fighter laws ...
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It looks like Turkey's shelling units that might (at least potentially, based on public reports previously posted in this thread) have some Canadians who've joined to fight ISIS/ISIL.

So, should we be pissed at Turkey for (maybe) shelling Canadian volunteers fighting ISIS/ISIL, or at our own folk for fighting for a group Turkey says is connected to a group Canada considers terrorists?

As someone smarter than me has said elsewhere, Kurds within Kurds within Kurds, indeed ...
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British study of foreign anti-ISIS fighters:  so, are they legal, or not?
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Governments need to clarify whether their citizens can legally serve as volunteer fighters in armed groups battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria and Iraq, a study released Tuesday has recommended.

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue report found that governments “appear reluctant to state clearly” whether the hundreds of Western anti-ISIL fighters, many of them military veterans, have broken any laws.

The hazy legality has led to confusion and uncertainty among both volunteer fighters and law-enforcement agencies over whether Westerners joining forces with Kurdish militias could be prosecuted at home.

The Canadian government has sent mixed signals on the issue: while verbally discouraging Canadians from taking up arms against ISIL, Ottawa has not prevented them from travelling or arrested them, although some have been questioned by the RCMP upon returning.

“There is a need in some instances for governments to clarify the legal situation surrounding anti-ISIS foreign fighters,” according to an advance copy of the 64-page report obtained by the National Post ...
Full study (64 pg PDF) here, summary (5 page) attached.
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Not many details @ this point ...
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A Canadian military veteran who has spent the past six months fighting ISIL alongside Kurdish forces has been arrested in northern Iraq, his mother said in an interview Sunday.

Michael Kennedy, 32, was on his to Sulaymaniyah, trying to make it home to Newfoundland for Christmas, when he was taken into custody by Iraqi Kurdish authorities, said his mother Kay Kennedy.

“All I know is he’s been arrested and he’s in Erbil,” she said from Saint Vincent’s, Nfld. She said she got the news from a Kurdish friend of her son’s. “He said nobody knows the reasons.”
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More details, shared under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) ...
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A military veteran from Newfoundland and Labrador who had been fighting ISIS in northern Iraq has been arrested, according to a report from the National Post.

Michael Kennedy, 32, spent the past six months as one of hundreds of foreign volunteers assisting Kurdish forces, the report published Sunday said.

His mother, Kay Kennedy, told the National Post that her son was on his way home for Christmas when he taken by Iraqi Kurdish authorities. She found out from friend of her son's in Iraq.

"All I know is he's been arrested and he's in Erbil," Kennedy told the National Post. "Nobody knows the reasons."

Kennedy declined an interview with CBC News Monday morning, and said she had been advised not to do any more interviews about her son's situation.

She said the situation is particularly hard on her, as her son Kevin, 20, was one of six Canadian soldiers killed in a roadside bomb blast in 2007.

Michael Kennedy served in the Canadian Forces for 13 years, his mother said, but after leaving the military in March, he made his way to northern Syria three months later.

Kay Kennedy said he later crossed into Iraq and has been fighting around Shingal since.

She told the National Post he volunteered to fight the ISIS forces after hearing the experiences of people in northern Iraq, as "sort of a humanitarian thing."

The federal government has discouraged Canadians from travelling to fight ISIS but has not stopped them or arrested them upon their return.
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Offline jollyjacktar

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I hope he gets home soon, the family has paid fate more than enough.   :salute:

I remember when his brother fell as I was a member of the team installing the WIISK add on armour to the vehicles at KAF.  His vehicle was the first one of those we modified that took casualties and I'll be forever haunted by it and the Coyote that followed that week.
I'm just like the CAF, I seem to have retention issues.

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Canada's Info-machine: We're working on it
« Reply #156 on: December 05, 2016, 19:09:10 »
A bit of an update:
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A former Canadian soldier being held in Iraq is in good health and Canadian Embassy officials are working to win his release, federal cabinet minister Judy Foote confirmed Monday.

Foote, the senior minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador, spoke to Mike Kennedy's mother in Newfoundland earlier in the day, said press secretary Jessica Turner.

(...)

Kay Kennedy told the radio station it appeared there was a problem with some documents, suggesting some had expired. She said she was sure her son's visa was good until January.

(...)

Global Affairs Canada told The Canadian Press it was aware of a Canadian citizen being detained in Iraq, and spokeswoman Kristine Racicot confirmed in an email that Canadian officials are providing consular assistance and are in contact with local authorities.

However, Racicot said she could not disclose more details because of privacy considerations.

Racicot said Global Affairs Canada is advising against all non-essential travel to Iraq, including the provinces under the control of the Kurdistan regional government in northern Iraq. The department said the security situation in Erbil and a few other towns "could deteriorate quickly."

"All Canadians who travel to Syria and Iraq must do so at their own personal risk," the email said. "Due to the unpredictable security situation, providing consular assistance in all parts of Iraq and Syria is severely limited." ...
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Some more detail from Russian-state media (RIA Novosti), shared under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) - highlights mine ...
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A Canadian military veteran has been arrested by Kurdish forces in Erbil, Northern Iraq, under mysterious circumstances. Michael Kennedy has been fighting Daesh forces in Iraq as a volunteer since June, and was attempting to return to his native Newfoundland for Christmas.

Kennedy served in the Canadian military for thirteen years. In a radio interview with VCOM, Kennedy’s mother claimed that he was part of a naval mission to the Gulf of Aden, where numerous nations have deployed warships to combat Somali pirates. In March 2016, Kennedy left the Canadian military and a few months later traveled to Northern Syria to join Kurdish fighters combating Daesh. He would later continue to fight in Nineveh, an Iraqi province sandwiched between Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Canadian military serviceman was fighting alongside the People’s Protection Units (YPG,) a Kurdish militia force based out of Northern Syria that has extended into Iraq in recent years. AP reports that Turkey considers the YPG to be a wing of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK)***, a left-wing political party that has waged a bitter war of independence against Turkey since the 1980’s. This claim on Turkey’s part has proved problematic for the West, as the PKK is considered by NATO to be a terrorist group. The YPG is also a backbone to coalition efforts to defeat Daesh, and are actively armed by the United States.

The most likely explanation for Kennedy’s arrest is that he is associated with a rival faction to the territory he was passing through: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP,) who control the government of Iraqi Kurdistan. They have worked closely with the Turks in the past. A similar incident to Kennedy's arrest occurred in October 2015, when six Western volunteers with the YPG were detained by the KDP. Three others met the same fate in April 2016. However, these nine were all detained because their visas had expired. Kennedy’s mother told VOCM that she is positive her son’s visa was valid through January, suggesting an extra wrinkle to the story.

The Globe and Mail reports that Global Affairs Canada (GAC), which manages Canada’s diplomatic and consular efforts, is aware of Kennedy’s detention and are working to have him released from custody and returned to Canada. Specific details about the incident have been withheld due to "privacy concerns," according to GAC, who also confirmed that he has met with Canadian embassy officials and is in good health.

*** - PKK's still considered a terrorist group by Canada - Kurds within Kurds ...
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Media reports say Michael Kennedy's free now -- here's why Kurd authorities said he was detained ...
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... Kurdish authorities, while not disputing the account, say Kennedy's side-trip into Syria was a serious violation that warranted his detention.

"He is arrested because he came from Syria and crossed [the] Iraq and [Kurdish Regional Government] borders illegally [at] Shingal," Dindar Zebari, the assistant head of foreign relations in the semi-autonomous region, told CBC News on Tuesday.

Zebari said Kennedy had been dealt with under Iraqi law.

A spokeswoman in the Kurdish prime minister's office added that other countries do not allow foreigners to cross boundaries at will and the arrest was a matter of "the rule of law."

The other foreign fighters — including some U.S. and German citizens — were not released with Kennedy on Tuesday ...
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Offline Colin P

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according the article I read, he was not initially detained as his visa was in order, but opted to stay with his buddies who were.