Refugees from war-torn Syria to arrive in Lisburn next week

A group of refugees in a rubber dinghy arriving on the beach at Psalidi near Kos Town, Kos, Greece this summer.

A group of refugees in a rubber dinghy arriving on the beach at Psalidi near Kos Town, Kos, Greece this summer.

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Refugees from war-torn Syria are to arrive in the Lisburn, Craigavon and Armagh areas next week.

A total of 13 families made up of 57 people will be arriving in Belfast initially before being rehoused in the Lisburn, Craigavon and Armagh areas.

They will include 25 children, 17 of which are school age.

This is the third group of refugees from the devastated country resettled under the UK Government’s Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme.

One nine year old girl will be arriving. She had been in a bomb blast which killed her grandparents and uncles. She survived however suffered serious injuries to her arms and legs which will require medical treatment.

Many of the Syrians who will be arriving have been through horrific years of torture in a country ravaged by war. Some of the men have been kidnapped and tortured.

This third group of refugees will be arriving from Turkey and comprise mostly of Kurds and all are Muslim.

Ian Snowden of the Operational Planning Group said that the NI Housing Executive has been involved in getting private rentals for the families in the Lisburn, Craigavon, Armagh and areas.

He added that while previous groups comprised mostly Syrians who had been involved in blue collar work, this third group also includes an accountant, primary school teacher, cooks, carpenters and other professions.

“They are very keen to work but we are going to ease them into society and spend several months teaching them English,” he added.

“They are vulnerable people for various reasons, some are injured due to the conflict. One man was shot in the head and has eyesight problems. His brother was killed in the same incident,” said Mr Snowden.

“Many are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and will need counselling and support,” he addded.

Neil McKittrick of the Red Cross said most of the families are from the Aleppo area of northern Syria where most of the war has been concentrated. “You can see they have been through a traumatic experience,” he said. “It is important that they know the people are here to support them.”

Denise Wright, Coordinator of the Refugee and Asylum Forum said all of those Syrians arriving in the area have been through rigorous security checks.

She also explained that people who would like to help the Syrians can do so via Bryson Intercultural.She added that people have been very kind to previous refugees.

And she explained that the NI Assembly will not be bearing any cost of resettling the refugees.