Video: Emotional moment a son is reunited with his Burnley born mother nine months after he went missing in Syria
This is the amazing and touching moment when a Burnley born mother was reunited with her son, nine months after he went missing while on a trip to Syria.
It was the moment Andrea Woodvine Leclair had dreamed about for so long when news came through last weekend that her son, Kristian Baxter had been released by the Syrian authorities.
An emotional reunion was held at Vancouver Airport at the weekend when Kristian finally arrived home and he has thanked everyone for their help and support.
Kristian said: “I am so fortunate to have such an amazing family and friends and it makes my heart swell with joy to know that I was in your thoughts.
“I had no idea if I would ever see any of you again and I’m overjoyed at returning to Canada and resuming my life.
"I can’t tell you everything that happened behind the scenes for my release but I have to thank Global Affairs Canada, the Lebanese government and, of course, my parents for their tireless efforts in trying to find me and having me released.”
Although he was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, Kristian is passionate about Burnley.
He has visited the town many times and set up the facebook page Burnley Lancashire Now and Then which now has 16,000 members. The page has been flooded with messages of love and support since news was announced of Kristian’s release.
Kristian’s mother Andrea, who is originally from Burnley, but now lives in Canada, and stepfather, Jean-Guy Leclair, had not heard from Kristian since days after his arrival in Syria.
Kristian (45), had visited the Middle East, including Syria, intending to visit historical and cultural sites.
The family is not aware of any charges brought against him, however, they believe he may have broken regulations relating to travel requirements in Syria, which has been in the grip of civil war since 2011.
In a bid to get help for her son, Andrea, a pupil at the former St Hilda's RC High Schookl in Burnley, had written to several ambassadors who have embassies in Syria.
On his release, she released a statement to the Burnley Express from the family’s residence in Nanaimo, saying:
“Our family is grateful for the efforts of Global Affairs Canada, which worked consistently, relentlessly, and professionally for Kristian’s release and collaborated with our professional consultants, Calvin Chrustie and Timo der Weduwen, of InterVentis Global, and John Weston, of Pan Pacific Law Corporation.
"We also thank the Lebanese Government for its key role in the release.”