OTTAWA - The daughter and daughter-in-law of a hard-line Syrian general have received visitor's visas from the Canadian embassy in Damascus to allow them to give birth in Canada and confer citizenship on the general's grandchildren, sources say.What? This is a common practice? Since when? How long has this been going on?
Zeina Khair and her mother, Soha Tabaa, recently returned to Syria after a spring visit during which Ms. Khair delivered a baby girl, a Syrian source familiar with the situation said.
Montreal interior designer Maya Samaan sponsored the visit. "They're friends of mine, they happened to come here for a while, and they left," she said.
Ms. Khair is married to Majed Suleiman, the son of General Bahjat Suleiman. Until last week, Gen. Suleiman was chief of Syrian interior intelligence and one of the most powerful members of the country's dictatorial regime.
Syria has denied involvement in the killing.
Gen. Suleiman's daughter, Randala Suleiman, also received a Canadian tourist visa from the embassy in Damascus, but has not yet used it, a source familiar with the situation said. The visa is valid for six months and expires in November.
Randala Suleiman is seven months pregnant and intends to travel to Montreal this summer to give birth, the source said.
It is common for the children of senior Syrian regime figures to travel to Canada to deliver their children, the source added. "The political interest is to have a safe haven for their children and also to guarantee study for them at low cost."
We Stand on Guard For Thee
What the hell is Canadian Immigration doing? I almost choked on my grilled-cheese sandwich when I read this story in the Globe and Mail.
By Len Kutchma on Saturday, July 02, 2005