Author Topic: Canadian Civilians Fighting ISIS (including threats to YPG)  (Read 108672 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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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.

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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 ...
Quote
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.

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Bumped after quite a while with this YT video (~45 minutes) posted last weekend of a chap identified as a Canadian fighting w/YPG in Syria near the Iraq border.

All I'll add as a teaser is:  Interesting ideological mix there.

Enjoy!
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The poor guy will probably get more hassle from CSIS and RCMP when he returns than the terrorists that come back.

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More (UK media) on the Canadian chap interviewed in the video posted here earlier this week ...
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he rise of Isis attracted thousands of foreigners from around the world to Syria. But it wasn’t just religious extremists who were drawn here. 

While scores were travelling to Syria for jihad, a smaller but no less committed group of internationalists was heading to the other side of the battle.

“People back home like to think Daesh [Isis] is just a problem for the Middle East and that’s it,” says Kyle Town, a mild-mannered 30-year-old from Thunder Bay, in Ontario, Canada, using the Arabic name for Isis. “But it doesn’t just exist here. It affects everyone.”

Town, a former sheet-metal worker, is among thousands of westerners who travelled to Syria to fight Isis and take part in a “revolution” led by a hitherto little-known Kurdish group in the country’s north.

Among them are former soldiers, charity workers, students, engineers and all manner of anarchists and leftists. Eight Britons who went to fight Isis – men and women – died in towns and cities unknown to most people back home.

The volunteers have drawn comparisons to the International Brigades, the foreign fighters who travelled to Spain to battle Franco’s fascists in the 1930s and were made famous by George Orwell. This time, though, they are on the winning side.

Isis’s self-declared caliphate is all but defeated, leaving those who came to fight it at a crossroads. Many say they are not ready to return home, and instead will stay on in Syria. But as the civil war transitions to a new phase, their role is uncertain.

“There is a lot of work besides fighting Daesh,” says Town, who is currently in an infantry unit. “There are all sorts of civilian works. I came here because I wanted to participate in this revolution as best I can.”   

Town is a member of a leftist Kurdish militia called the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which has counted thousands of western volunteers in its ranks over the past few years ...
More @ link
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Offline whiskey601

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The poor guy will probably get more hassle from CSIS and RCMP when he returns than the terrorists that come back.

I'm sure they know enough about him already. No poetry for him!!
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I'm sure they know enough about him already. No poetry for him!!

It's all been done before, of course, and it seems as if these folks don't have a very good time messing about 'informally' in other people's wars....

These two recent books portray the war from Canadian viewpoints -- those of Dr. Norman Bethune, who ran a mobile blood-transfusion service for the Republican forces, and Ronald Liversedge, a working-class Canadian who fought in the International Brigades with the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. Neither man had a very good war, and in some ways they foreshadowed the Canadians of later generations who went off to fight in other people’s wars.

https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2014/08/16/Canadian-Rogues-Spanish-Civil-War/

"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

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These two recent books portray the war from Canadian viewpoints -- those of Dr. Norman Bethune, who ran a mobile blood-transfusion service for the Republican forces, and Ronald Liversedge, a working-class Canadian who fought in the International Brigades with the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. Neither man had a very good war, and in some ways they foreshadowed the Canadians of later generations who went off to fight in other people’s wars.

https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2014/08/16/Canadian-Rogues-Spanish-Civil-War/
And based on some of the other YPG "international academy" videos and the multiple references to "friends" (and the occasional slip into "comrades"), there's a lot of the same ideological work being done with today's internationalists fighting ISIS -- with this group, anyway.
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It's all been done before, of course, and it seems as if these folks don't have a very good time messing about 'informally' in other people's wars....

These two recent books portray the war from Canadian viewpoints -- those of Dr. Norman Bethune, who ran a mobile blood-transfusion service for the Republican forces, and Ronald Liversedge, a working-class Canadian who fought in the International Brigades with the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. Neither man had a very good war, and in some ways they foreshadowed the Canadians of later generations who went off to fight in other people’s wars.

https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2014/08/16/Canadian-Rogues-Spanish-Civil-War/

Bethune made a habit of it though...he became a senior medical officer for Mao.  He's actually considered a hero in China.

MM
MM

Remember the basics of Medicine - "Pink is GOOD, Blue is BAD, Air goes in AND out, Blood Goes Round and Round"

I may sound like a pessimist, but I am a realist.

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... and he’s a hero to many Canadians who have been accordingly indoctrinated.
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The poor guy will probably get more hassle from CSIS and RCMP when he returns than the terrorists that come back.
It might be a bit ... complicated for "foreign legion/internationalist" folks fighting with the YPG

Good bit:  They're fighting ISIS/Daesh face-to-face - the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Tricky bit (1):  Their links to the PKK, who are considered terrorists by our NATO ally, Turkey.  One suggestion of said links:  check out the picture of the big moustached face of the guy @ the front of the classroom at the YPG's "International Academy" (all filmed by the same guy who did the Canadian's interview).  That would be this guy, one of the founding members of the PKK who's been  a "guest" of the Turks since 1999.

Tricky bit (2):  In fact, Canada Revenue Agency just dinged a Toronto charity for being "linked to or openly support(ing) the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and/or armed militia groups and political groups that are closely aligned with the PKK", which Canada also considers a terrorist organization.

Hence, the messiness - and the whole "Kurdish flag on Canadian uniforms" fracas during the summer of 2016.

#KurdsWithinKurdsWithinKurds
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Offline CBH99

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I understand there is, sometimes, unfortunately, a 'formal' designation of 'terrorist group' and a 'we are going to label them terrorists even though we execute similar activities as they do'.   In this case, my PERSONAL opinion - is that Turkey lacks any real credibility when it comes to labeling them terrorists.

They were fighting ISIS while Turkey was buying oil from them.  They were fighting ISIS while Turkey bombed their villages -- not individual targets, VILLAGES. 



Turkey considers judges, students, teachers, soldiers, news anchors, and probably your mom's faithful cat - as "terrorist suspects" - and has imprisoned hundreds of it's own citizens on grounds that wouldn't hold up anywhere else in NATO or the EU.  (Hence the EU saying 'hell no' to Turkey ever becoming a member.)


When Turkey no longer has rooms filled with people hogtied in their underwear, and judges & teachers can perform their duties without fear of arrest & indeterminate detainment...maybe I'll start taking Turkey's 'concerns' with a bit more sincerity. 

Until then, I don't believe Canada should put too much weight on Turkey's designation of 'terrorists' when Canadian citizens are returning.  We should be screening them ourselves and using our own judgment on whether or not they fit the criteria of what WE would consider terrorist acts/groups.
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... my PERSONAL opinion - is that Turkey lacks any real credibility when it comes to labeling them terrorists.  They were fighting ISIS while Turkey was buying oil from them.  They were fighting ISIS while Turkey bombed their villages -- not individual targets, VILLAGES ... When Turkey no longer has rooms filled with people hogtied in their underwear, and judges & teachers can perform their duties without fear of arrest & indeterminate detainment...maybe I'll start taking Turkey's 'concerns' with a bit more sincerity ...
Agreed, which is what can make the political part of the equation a bit murkier when designating terrorist groups, especially when an (at least alleged) NATO ally also considers a group "bad guys".

South of us, I notice late last year, the U.S. State Dep't removed the YPG grouping from it's "bad guys" list -- even if 1)  the int side still said there's links there, and 2)  the U.S. offering bounties on some PKK hombres.

Bottom line:  if I was a travel agent, I wouldn't book these folks' return tickets through Turkey ...
« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 14:11:20 by milnews.ca »
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... I don't believe Canada should put too much weight on Turkey's designation of 'terrorists' when Canadian citizens are returning.  We should be screening them ourselves and using our own judgment on whether or not they fit the criteria of what WE would consider terrorist acts/groups.
Interestingly, one chap in the U.K. is facing terrorism charges after fighting with the YPG - highlights mine ...
Quote
A British man wrote in a diary that he had an "amazing time" fighting against the Islamic State in Syria, a court has heard.

Aidan James, from Merseyside, allegedly described the terror group as "the biggest threat the world has seen since Hitler" and said he fought on the "front line numerous times", killing IS soldiers.

The 28-year-old had no previous military knowledge when he allegedly set out to join the conflict in August 2017.

He is accused of receiving training from the Marxist group PKK before linking up with Kurdish YPG units, otherwise known as People's Protection Units, in Syria.

The Old Bailey has heard that his four months of combat amounted to "terrorism, even if his eventual fighting was against other terrorists".

He is said to have "fuelled violence and devastation" in Syria by travelling to fight with guns and explosives.

The father-of-one denies engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts and two charges of attending a place used for terrorist training.

On the second day of his trial at the Old Bailey, pictures of him posing with YPG insignia wearing military clothing were shown to the jury.

A diary entry describing the worsening situation in Syria was also revealed to the court.

In December 2017, James allegedly wrote: "The situation with Turkey continues to worsen... the war is long from over but I am playing my part in this war and feel good to be a part of history and with the revolutionary force of YPG.

"Daesh (IS) is the biggest threat the world has seen since Hitler so anything I can do in these operations is good."

In another handwritten entry, James said he was "waiting for Daesh to give me the opertunity (sic) to fire".

He described his group's "quest to vanquish Daesh from this place and send the rechid (sic) souls straight to hell".

James also wrote that he got "a kill" that day and was "very happy to get rid of another rat".

One photograph shown to jurors was of a black Islamic State flag with the caption: "This is the evil flag of the worlds enemy ISIS, Daesh. IS flag (took) from a window in Deir Ezzor by me. F*** Daesh!!" ...
More on the guy's legal fight via Google News here.
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This commentary from Turkish media, offering a bit of hope for folks fighting w/the YPG looking for friends if/when they want to return to Canada (Turkey, bad - U.S./helpers, good) ...
Quote
The U.S. continues its search to provide military support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is controlled by the PKK terrorist organization's Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG). With U.S. ground troops preparing to partially withdraw from Syria, Washington has been looking to provide the terrorist group the necessary equipment and backing it needs. The latest move on the matter was revealed yesterday, as the U.K. agreed to deploy additional military forces in Syria alongside France to allow the U.S. to withdraw its troops from the ongoing fight against the remnants of Daesh.

According to U.S. officials, the U.K. and France are expected to increase their special forces in the region by 10 to 15 percent, although the exact numbers remain secret.

As the journal Foreign Policy and The Guardian reported, this development was perceived as "a major victory… for Donald Trump's national security team" because few other countries had been willing to help out.

Yet, the U.K. and France's support seem to not be enough for the U.S. to secure the YPG's condition since another report by the Danish daily Politiken said that the U.S. also demanded Denmark send ground troops to Syria and provide military training to YPG terrorists ...
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Some of the latest from Turkey et. al. ...
Quote
Turkey will carry out a military operation in a Kurdish-controlled area east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, its third offensive to dislodge Kurdish militia fighters close to its border. 

Turkey had in the past warned of carrying out military operations east of the river, but put them on hold after agreeing with the United States to create a safe zone inside Syria along its northeastern border with Turkey that would be cleared of the Kurdish YPG militia*.

But Ankara has accused Washington of stalling progress on setting up the safe zone and has demanded it sever its relations with the YPG, Washington's main ally on the ground in Syria during the battle against Islamic State, but which Turkey sees as a terrorist organisation. 

Erdogan said both Russia and the United States have been told of the operation, but did not say when it would begin. It would mark the third Turkish incursion into Syria in as many years.

"We entered Afrin, Jarablus, and Al-Bab. Now we will enter the east of the Euphrates," Erdogan said on Sunday during a motorway-opening ceremony ...
* - This would be the militia at least several Canadians have reportedly joined to fight against ISIS.
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Some of the latest from Turkey et. al. ...* - This would be the militia at least several Canadians have reportedly joined to fight against ISIS.

Indeed. Serving with the Kurds in the vicinity of the Turkish border is not a decision that can really be considered wise... Hopefully any Canadians in the beaten zone have the smarts to get out while they can. There's really nothing our government can do for them if the Turks capture them as combatants of a group they deem a terrorist insurgency.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.