Ottawa man fighting deportation to Syria
As Canada prepares to embrace thousands of Syrian refugees, the family of one Ottawa man is trying to keep him from being deported to the war-torn country, where he would immediately join the throngs of people desperate to get out.
Ahmed Alhaj, a 58-year-old jeweller, has a deportation order after the Canadian government ruled he misrepresented himself when he immigrated in 2004.
“This is my home. I don’t know anything from other homes,” Alhaj said in an interview at his south Ottawa house. “My wife? Canadian. My children? Canadian.”
Alhaj’s eldest son, Abdullah, faced a similar fate until the deportation order was overturned last year.
Ahmed said his life would be in danger if he were forced to go back to Syria. Because he did not perform the compulsory military service, he’s considered a deserter. He’s afraid the government of Bashar al-Assad will arrest him, jail him or execute him.
“Come to Damascus, then ‘goodbye.’ Forget yourself,” Ahmed said.