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The first Syrian refugees to be resettled in the UK under the extended Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme are due to arrive in Scotland today (Tuesday 17 November).

Through the scheme, the UK Government is prioritising those identified as most in need at UN-registered camps in Jordan and Lebanon. This includes women, children, people who have experienced torture and sexual violence, and people who are unfit to remain in the camps due to age or disability.

Over the coming weeks, Scotland will take around a third of the initial 1,000 men, women and children who are expected in the UK before Christmas.

One man who is seeking protection in the UK and volunteering at Scottish Refugee Council said:

"To be a refugee is not a choice; it is a decision based on our human instinct to survive and we should never lose sight of that. No one wants to be a refugee. I wish I was in Syria, in my home town, with my wife and family.

"Scotland like Syria is a beautiful country, but not one of us can be reduced to one single thing and I am no different.

"I am a man, I am a husband, I am a son, brother, and cousin. I am a professional with skills and expertise to offer wherever I am and I have helped many people and I hope to do so in the future. I am Syrian. I am not just a refugee. I am not a statistic. And I am certainly not a burden."

Gary Christie, Head of Communications at Scottish Refugee Council, said:

“We look forward to welcoming the new Syrian arrivals to Scotland and, in partnership with local authorities and communities across the country, providing as much support as we can to help them rebuild their lives here in safety.

"Over the last few months we’ve been overwhelmed by the way people in Scotland have responded to the crisis facing refugees. Thousands have offered rooms in their homes, time, skills and money to help refugees settle in Scotland. Nearly 2000 people have offered practical support via the website www.scotlandwelcomesrefugees.scot This goodwill and the sense that people from all walks of life are pulling together and ready to do what they can to help refugees will be crucial in helping the new Syrian families feel human again and begin to see and achieve a future for themselves in their new home.”

The UK Government has said it will resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees through the scheme over the course of this parliament, with the Scottish Government accepting at least 10% - proportionate to Scotland’s population within the UK.

The Home Office, which is working directly with local authorities, will give the new arrivals an initial 5-year visa and has guaranteed funding for one year.

Syrians are fleeing their country due to war which is now in its fifth year and appears to have no end in sight.