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Body of Canadian man killed while fighting ISIS in Syria returned home

Nazzareno Tassone is shown in an undated image from a Facebook Memorial page.
Nazzareno Tassone is shown in an undated image from a Facebook Memorial page. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook

The mother of a Canadian man killed while fighting Islamic State militants in Syria says her son’s body has been returned to Canada.

But Tina Martino of Niagara Falls, Ont., says she has not yet been able to see the remains of her 24-year-old son, Nazzareno Tassone, because his casket was sealed when it arrived late Saturday night.

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Tassone was killed on Dec. 21 in the city of Raqqa while fighting militants associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIS. The young man had told his family that he was going to Iraq to teach English, but he secretly slipped into Syria to join forces with a U.S.-backed Kurdish group known as the YPG.

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His body wasn’t recovered until May – months after his death.

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Martino says her family received an autopsy report that initially confused them, because it listed her son as having a different hair colour, being several inches taller than he was and more than a decade older.

Officials later said they confirmed the body was Tassone based on dental records.

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But Martino says that because of the mix-up, part of her still doubts the body that arrived Saturday is her son.

She says the Coroner’s Office will be conducting another autopsy to verify his identity and cause of death.