British Columbia Man Detained in Syria Is Freed in Beirut

Canadian citizen Kristian Lee Baxter who was being held in Syria shakes hands with Major General Abbas Ibrahim Lebanon’s internal security chief next to Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon Emmanuelle Lamoureux after being released at a news conferenc

Canadian citizen Kristian Lee Baxter who was being held in Syria shakes hands with Major General Abbas Ibrahim Lebanon’s internal security chief next to Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon Emmanuelle Lamoureux after being released at a news conferenc

Described as an adventure traveller by his loved ones, Baxter had made no contact since arriving at a Syrian village where his brother-in-law was born.

Kristian Lee Baxter, who has been described by his family as a "world traveller", spoke from Beirut, and thanked the Lebanese and Canadian governments for securing his release.

Baxter's mother, Andrea Leclair told The Canadian Press last January, that her son messaged her daily because she was anxious after he arrived in Syria on November 26, but he went silent after his last message on December 1.

Bérubé said Global Affairs would not be releasing further information due to Canada's Privacy Act, but he expressed "appreciation to the government of Lebanon for its assistance". Sam Goodwin, the USA citizen freed last month, had been traveling in Syria without a visa.

Reaching out to hold the shoulder of Canadian Ambassador Emmanuelle Lamoureux, who also attended the news conference in Beirut, Baxter acknowledged the aid of Canadian officials.

Ibrahim said his mediation with Syria was based on "the request of Canada, which asked Lebanon to intervene to release him". "Today is a glorious day for Canadians", she said. The country has also severed its diplomatic relations with the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad since 2012.

Baxter thanked both the Canadian embassy and the Lebanese authorities for helping him get out of Syria. -Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, Lebanon's internal security chief, centre, and Emmanuelle Lamoureux, the Canadian ambassador to Lebanon.

A number of citizens from Western and other countries have been held in Syria since the civil war began in 2011. "Canadian consular officials have been actively engaged throughout this case and continue to provide consular services to Mr. Baxter and his family", the statement read. The circumstances of Goodwin's detention in northeastern Syria in May were unclear.

Commenting on Lebanese journalist Samir Kassab and Archbishops John Ibrahim and Paul Yazji, who have been missing in Syria for years, Ibrahim said: "The issue is being followed up, but we have no information that we can announce at the moment". Lebanon is struggling with one of the world's highest public debts, a government deadlocked over personal rivalries, while the country's most powerful political group is shunned internationally and facing USA sanctions over accusations of terrorism and for its close ties with Iran. Lamoureux thanked Lebanon's head of General Security but said she could not give any details about the case. "We need this image at the moment".