Chrystia Freeland shocked by approval of Assad ally to consulate

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has condemned her government’s approval of a supporter of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad to a consular post in Canada, and said she would look into the matter.

The appointment has upset and frightened the Syrian refugee community, according to two Syrian community activists. Canada and several other countries cut diplomatic ties with Syria in 2012 after the Houla massacre killed dozens of people. Syria maintains two honorary consul offices in Vancouver and Montreal.

Maclean’s magazine reported on Monday that Montreal businessman Waseem Ramli, a supporter and ally of Assad’s regime, was appointed to the Montreal consul position.

The appointment, put forward by the Syrian government and approved by Global Affairs Canada, as the country’s foreign ministry is known, will take effect on Oct 1.

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