Number of Syrian refugees in Canada reaches 10,000

Canadian government announces arrival of first 10,000 Syrian asylum seekers, another 15,000 scheduled to be brought by end of February

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Trudeau and several members of his Liberal government were on hand to greet the Syrians as they arrived on a troop transport plane in Toronto.

Updated Jan 15, 2016

The Canadian government announced on Wednesday that the plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees has been accomplished, although it took two weeks after the initial scheduled time.

A plane carrying Syrian asylum seekers landed in Toronto on Tuesday, bringing the number of arrivals to 10,121 since November.

After taking office, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals pledged, during his election campaign, to accept 25,000 Syrians in Canada.

Immigration Minister John McCallum considered the step as a "significant milestone" on the way to meeting the Liberal's overall pledge to take in 25,000 Syrians.

"Many people have worked day and night to bring these refugees to Canada," McCallum said.

"Canadians have opened their communities and their hearts to welcome them," he added.

A photo of the Syrian toddler, Alan Kurdi, whose body washed up on to a Turkish shore -where his entire family, except for his father, perished while attempting to flee to Europe after their application to immigrate to Canada was rejected- shocked the world. The incident triggered an international outcry, leading the Liberals to criticise the Tory government of not doing enough for Syrian refugees.

By the end of Dec. 31, 2015, only 6,000 Syrians had arrived to Canada from camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The aim to resettle the remaining 25,000 people is set to be achieved by February this year.

According to the Canadian government official website, an additional 5,197 refugee applications have been finalised and 16,347 resettlement applications are in progress.

Outside parliament, McCallum said that, "There's little doubt in my mind that 25,000 will have arrived by the end of February."

"But I think now attention should turn or has turned to the resettlement," he said.

According to the UN refugee agency figures, more than four million Syrians have fled the war in their country, which started at 2011 and caused the death of at least 260,000 people.

Canada takes around 250,000 refugees each year from all over the world.

TRTWorld and agencies