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Charter flight lands in Glasgow bringing Syrian refugees to UK

The first charter flight bringing Syrian refugees to Britain has arrived in Glasgow as the Government steps up its resettlement scheme.

A plane, believed to be carrying about 100 people, landed at around 3.40pm on Tuesday.

The flight left Amman, Jordan, this morning and stopped at Beirut on the way to the UK, officials said. Refugees were met by representatives of five Scottish local authorities who will help them settle.

Downing Street refused to specify exactly how many refugees were arriving today but said they had undergone "rigorous" security checks before boarding the plane.

David Cameron announced at the start of September that Britain would "live up to its moral responsibility" by taking 20,000 refugees from the camps on the borders of Syria by the end of the current parliament in 2020.

The move came in the wake of a public outcry over the fate of Syrians driven to attempt to make the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean by boat, following the publication of pictures of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi who drowned with several family members as they tried to reach Greece from Turkey.

Since the announcement a "steady stream" of refugees have already come to the UK but the start of a series of special charter flights will see the numbers arriving increase.

Mr Cameron has set a target to bring 1,000 people displaced to countries around Syria to Britain by Christmas.

Richard Harrington, Minister for Syrian Refugees, said: "Today's arrivals are a landmark moment for the vulnerable persons' resettlement scheme and the result of great collaboration between the Government, the UNHCR, local authorities and the devolved administrations.

"These vulnerable people will now have the chance to rebuild their lives in safe and secure surroundings, among supportive communities in the UK.

"Over the coming weeks we will provide refuge to hundreds more people who have been forced from their homes because of civil unrest, persecution and war."

Scotland's minister for Europe and International Development said Humza Yousaf said it was a "proud day" for the country.

He added: "These people have fled terror and tyranny and are some of the most vulnerable among those affected by conflict in Syria.

"They have arrived directly from refugee camps and we have been working closely with the Home Office who have robust and thorough security screening processes in place. They will now travel to a number of communities across Scotland."

The Home Office has confirmed offers of support from more than 45 councils around the UK, while talks are continuing with dozens more.

At the weekend Home Secretary Theresa May said those who arrive in Britain would be thoroughly screened to ensure they do not pose a terrorist threat.

It came after reports that at least one of the Paris attackers may have entered Europe through Greece posing as a refugee from Syria.


From Belfast Telegraph