BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Effort To Save Syrian Family Stalled

02/06/2013 03:19 EST | Updated 04/08/2013 05:12 EDT
Getty Images
Syrian children ride on the back of a pickup truck in the Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on December 8, 2012. After months of fighting, Aleppo is without power and running water, and the prices of basic commodities are increasing as their availability are getting scarcer. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
A West Kelowna couple says their efforts to save a young Syria family by getting them into Canada on a one-year tourist visa are being blocked by immigration officials who don't believe the family will return to the war-torn country.

Jim Scorgie and Wendy Porteous Scorgie say their friend Marway Saffaf and her young family have been trapped in the city of Aleppo in the strife of Syria’s continuing civil war.

"People are dying and there is a chance to save the lives of three little boys and a family basically," said Scorgie.

"We actually know people that've been shot and killed," said Scorgie.

He says the situation for their Syrian friends is desperate.

"As I said they were shooting within her building, basically, so she's got three little kids and they are just basically laying on the floor hiding," said Scorgie.

Canadian Embassy in Beirut rejects application

The couple met Marwa Saffaf a decade ago, when they worked as teachers at an international school in Aleppo, Syria.

Scorgie said the family has applied for a one year tourist visa, but the Canadian Embassy in Beirut rejected the family's application, citing a belief the family would stay in Canada after the visa's expire.

"It's been really hard for us to know that they are in such a desperate situation and we want to help them and now we've been told, sorry they can't leave," said Scorgie.

Scorgie and Porteous have asked their Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla, Dan Albas and Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism to intervene.

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