Belfast Telegraph

First Syrian refugees arrive in Northern Ireland

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland -15th December 2015
51 refugees from Syria, consisting of 10 families including a new born baby, land at Belfast International Airport after flying from Beirut in Lebanon. The families displaced by the on-going war in Syria will be housed in Belfast under refugee status. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland -15th December 2015 51 refugees from Syria, consisting of 10 families including a new born baby, land at Belfast International Airport after flying from Beirut in Lebanon. The families displaced by the on-going war in Syria will be housed in Belfast under refugee status. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
51 refugees from Syria, consisting of 10 families including a new born baby, land at Belfast International Airport after flying from Beirut in Lebanon. The families displaced by the on-going war in Syria will be housed in Belfast under refugee status. Coaches carrying the refugees with a police escort make their way into Belfast from the airport. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
51 refugees from Syria, consisting of 10 families including a new born baby, land at Belfast International Airport after flying from Beirut in Lebanon. The families displaced by the on-going war in Syria will be housed in Belfast under refugee status. Coaches carrying the refugees with a police escort make their way into Belfast from the airport. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

More than fifty refugees fleeing their homes in war-torn Syria have arrived in Northern Ireland.

The ten families including a new-born baby landed at Belfast International Airport after flying from Beirut in the Lebanon.

Eleven of them are children aged under five.

They are among 20,000 Syrian refugees who will be resettled across the UK in the next five years.

Northern Ireland will accept a second group of refugees between January and April next year.

They will be staying at a special welcome centre where they will be registered and receive briefings about how life works in Northern Ireland.

The location of the refugees' temporary accommodation is not being disclosed in order to ensure their privacy.

Awaiting them in the centre will be hundreds of colourful handmade cards provided by local children, toys and a Christmas tree.

They will then be assigned homes to begin their new lives, resettling in Northern Ireland as part of the UK-wide relocation scheme.

Aid workers said they have been overwhelmed by public offers of support.

A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Denise Wright from (Refugee and Asylum Forum ) as A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST A Belfast Welcome Centre prepares for Refugees to arrive on Tuesday, Families are being forced to flee their homes in fear for their lives from Syria and elsewhere across the Middle East. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

"One of the things we have seen is an overwhelming sense of people in the general community saying 'what we can we do?'," said Denise Wright from the Refugee and Asylum Forum.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook (with people asking) 'what can we do, what can we give?"

Ms Wright said there was now no need for any more practical donations for the arriving families.

"We've already got everything that we require," she said. "But one of the things we have asked if you want to do something is send welcome cards."

The refugees are travelling from a refugee camp in Beirut where some of them have been living for a number of years.

Each family will be assigned a key worker, as well as offered translation support.

Earlier this month a group calling itself the Protestant Coalition organised a protest in Belfast city centre to demonstrate against the arrival of the Syrians.

However, only around 25 turned up and participants were significantly outnumbered by a counter-demo organised by people voicing a message of welcome.

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