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Syrian Refugee Families Touch Down In Glasgow To Begin New Lives

Around 100 people fleeing war in Syria will be resettled throughout Scotland.

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Around 100 Syrian refugees have landed in Glasgow to start their new lives in Scotland.

The group, thought to be mainly made up of vulnerable families from refugee camps, were on the first chartered flight of refugees to land in the UK since the government announced it would be accepting 20,000 additional people from Syria and surrounding countries before 2020.

Each local authority in Scotland has volunteered to house some of the refugees, who will now begin the process of being resettled across the country.

Ahead of the group's arrival, each local authority was told how many people it should expect, who they are, and what care they may require once they are settled into their new homes.

There have been some small anti-refugee demonstrations ahead of the arrival, and an allegedly racially motivated attack in Fife in the wake the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, but Zoe Gardner of the charity Asylum Aid told Sky News she expects the refugees to be welcomed by the vast majority of Scots.

"It would appear that, luckily, the people of Scotland are ready to give that warm welcome," said Gardner. "We've seen demonstrations, tiny demonstrations of extreme right-wing elements in Scotland against the resettlement being completely drowned out by far larger crowds of people keen to welcome people.

"Every single local authority across Scotland has stepped up to say they want to take in refugees, they want to help these families looking for new lives, and I think this is a really positive story of the welcome that the UK is capable of giving."


SNP MPs have been quick to offer their welcome to the Syrians, with many, including Patrick Grady, displaying "Aye Welcome Refugees" shirts in parliament on Tuesday.

Put Glasgow's welcome to refugees on record today during PM's statement, echoing @AngusRobertson #RefugeesWelcome

Speaking ahead of the arrival on Monday, Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, urged Scots to welcome the refugees after she marked a minute's silence for the victims of the Paris attacks at a mosque in Glasgow.

"We are due to welcome Syrian refugees to Scotland tomorrow and we need to show that we are a country of compassion and acceptance," she said. "These people are fleeing their homes in the search for protection and security, and we are their refuge. We cannot let the actions of the few destroy the safety of the many."

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also called on Scots to show kindness to the refugees and "welcome them with open and loving arms".

"They have travelled halfway across the world to get away from the terrorists in their own land, often driven by the fear that lies behind them over the road ahead," she said in parliament on Tuesday.

"So from this chamber to those refugees arriving today let the message ring out: 'You will find friendship in your new home here in Scotland. Please know that you are very welcome.'"

Scotland's pro-independence newspaper The National dedicated its front page to welcoming the refugees on Tuesday.

Our front page: As the first Syrian refugees arrive in Scotland tomorrow, we'd like to offer them a warm welcome

Following the resettlement of this group, hundreds more refugees are expected to be flown in across the UK in the coming weeks as part of the government's vulnerable person scheme.

Forty-five local authority areas throughout the UK have volunteered to accept refugees, and the Home Office is in talks with more to be able to house the eventual 20,000 people before 2020.

Richard Harrington, the minister for Syrian refugees, said the flight arriving in Glasgow was an important first step in the UK's efforts to help those fleeing war in Syria.

He said: "These flights mark a real step-change in the scheme as we upscale it to resettle 20,000 Syrians by the end of this parliament and we look forward to welcoming and helping hundreds of people in the coming weeks."

In the meantime, Scots are posting #WelcomeToScotland messages to the refugees on social media.

Sorry about the weather. And the midges. Oh, and the bams. But it's really quite lovely here. #WelcomeToScotland #SyrianRefugees

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at

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