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Syrian refugees celebrate fifth anniversary in Canada with virtual event

The first plane bearing Syrian refugees landed in Toronto on Dec. 10, 2015
New Canadians take part in a virtual citizenship ceremony in a video recorded from a livestream on the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration’s YouTube channel, as seen on a phone in Toronto, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2020. A group of Syrian refugees is taking the Canadian citizenship oath in an online ceremony organized by the federal immigration department to mark the fifth anniversary of the landing of the first plane filled with Syrian refugees. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giordano Ciampini

The organizer of a virtual celebration to mark the fifth anniversary of Canada’s welcoming Syrian refugees says Canadians’ support for the newcomers has been a beautiful example for the rest of the world.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, the executive director of the Syrian Canadian Foundation Bayan Khatib says thousands of Canadians have volunteered to help Syrian refugees in almost every city and town in Canada.

Khatib says she was sad the celebration wouldn’t happen in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But now she realizes it was a blessing, with almost 700 people from across the country registered to attend online.

Khatib, who came as a Syrian refugee to Canada more than 30 years ago, says most of the Syrian refugees her organization has worked with have learned English and found jobs thanks to the support they received from their communities.

The first plane bearing Syrian refugees landed in Toronto on Dec. 10, 2015, following a promise by the Liberals during the 2015 election campaign to make it much easier for them to reach Canada.

Nearly 73,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled here since then.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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