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Syrian refugee family are to be resettled in Barking and Dagenham as they flee persecution

PUBLISHED: 16:33 21 January 2019 | UPDATED: 07:31 22 January 2019

L-R: The Revd Alex Guest, Fr Gareth Jones, Emma Gwynne, Bethan Lang, Niamh Balkan, Rafe Smallman and Clare Cox  from Refugee Welcome Dagenham. Picture: Refugee Welcome Dagenham

L-R: The Revd Alex Guest, Fr Gareth Jones, Emma Gwynne, Bethan Lang, Niamh Balkan, Rafe Smallman and Clare Cox from Refugee Welcome Dagenham. Picture: Refugee Welcome Dagenham

Archant

A family at risk of being killed if they stay in war-torn Syria is to be resettled in the borough.

The family should arrive in Dagenham in the next five to six weeks.

Father Gareth Jones – vicar of St Mary’s Church, Ilford – is helping to coordinate the family’s move.

The family coming to Dagenham have been refugees since 2012, not long after the Syrian civil war began in March 2011, according to Fr Jones.

“They can’t return to Syria because of the threat of persecution and murder.

“They have been forced to leave their country because if they don’t they would be killed,” Fr Jones said.

Staff from St Mary’s Refugee Welcome project are providing a home and enough money to tide them over for the first couple of years while they find their feet.

They will also be paying for English lessons to help them integrate.

A total of 20 trained volunteers from a number of churches will help them settle into their new lives.

He said: “I hope they are welcomed with open arms and a recognition that these people have no chance but to flee their homeland.

“If what was happening in Syria was happening in this country anybody would do exactly the same. They would get their families out.”

St Mary’s vicar, the Church of England’s diocesan refugee coordinator for Essex and east London, added that the people he meets who have fled persecution don’t want to leave their homes.

He said that many want to return to Syria to help rebuild their war-ravaged country when it’s over. They are not here as economic migrants, he added.

The family heading to Dagenham are part of the 20,000 Syrian refugees the government agreed to rehouse in 2015.

The team helping with their resettlement applied to the Home Office to help three months ago after starting the application process in 2017.

Most Syrian refugees resettled in neighbouring countries Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, according to the Christian humanitarian group World Vision.

The civil war flared up as rival groups in Syria took up arms following protests calling for president Bashar Al-Assad to go in 2011.

Anyone who wants to help Refugee Welcome Dagenham should email refugeewelcome@stmarysilford.org.uk

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