Cdn killed fighting ISIL died from head injury: mother

An Ontario woman whose son was killed secretly fighting against Islamic State militants in northern Syria last year says she was devastated to finally learn the details of his death.

Tina Martino says an autopsy report she received last week concluded her 24-year-old son, Nazzareno Tassone, died from a blow to the head, not a gunshot wound as she had previously been told.

Martino says the autopsy, which was conducted in northern Iraq, also found her son had broken bones, cigarette burns to his body and face and marks that suggested he had been bound.

After days spent believing her son had been tortured, Martino says she learned Tuesday those injuries were incurred after his death.

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 or ISIL.

Months before, Tassone 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.

The young man’s family learned of his death in early January after receiving a letter from the group. The letter also said Tassone’s body had been taken by ISIL militants. His body was recovered last month.

The autopsy report initially confused the family, because it described Tassone as six feet three inches tall, in his 30s and with blond hair, when in fact he was five feet 10 inches tall, several years younger and had brown hair, his mother said.

That gave the family hope that it was about a different man, she said.

“It was the first time in five months of not having him home that anger… overpowered most of the emotional crying,” Martino said.

“There was also a lot of hoping and praying that it wasn’t him,” she said.

Dental records eventually confirmed the report had correctly identified Tassone, however, she said.

Still, the report leaves many questions unanswered about Tassone’s fate, his mother said. “Nobody’s saying what they think happened,” she said.

Martino said her son’s body could be flown back to Canada as early as this weekend, though she wouldn’t be surprised if they encountered other delays.

Tassone’s body would arrive in Toronto and be brought to Niagara Falls, Ont., in a repatriation ceremony, then laid to rest there, she said.

The family had planned a memorial service last month but then decided to wait for the return of his body.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

WATCH: Setters Place grand opening in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Setters Place officially opened to the public Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month