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Body of Canadian killed fighting ISIS returned to Canada, mom says

The mother of a Canadian killed while fighting Islamic State militants in Syria said her heart was heavy as she put her hands on a casket containing the body of her son.

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 in Canada late Saturday night months after his death.

"As I lay my hands on the casket, sadness came over me," Martino said Sunday. "I'm still wondering, 'Is this my boy?"'

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 ISIL.

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 called the YPG.

The YPG told Tassone's family that his body was taken by ISIL militants, and wasn't recovered until May.

Martino said she still has doubts about the identity of the person in the casket because of a presumed error in an initial autopsy report she was sent -- it listed her son as having a different hair colour, being several inches taller than he was and more than a decade older.

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

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