POLITICS

Liberals' Syrian Refugee Plan Hits Milestone As 1st Group From Turkey Lands In Canada

01/21/2016 10:17 EST | Updated 01/21/2016 10:59 EST

OTTAWA — Another milestone for the Liberals' Syrian refugee resettlement program: the first group of Syrians who'd been living in Turkey have finally arrived in Canada.

The International Organization for Migration says that 284 Syrian refugees from Ankara, Turkey flew to Toronto on Wednesday.

While over 11,000 Syrian refugees have come to Canada since the federal government ramped up the program in November, almost all have come from Lebanon and Jordan.

john mccallum

Immigration Minister John McCallum speaks to reporters at the Liberal cabinet retreat. (Photo: CP)

In those countries, it is the United Nations which registers refugees for resettlement but in Turkey it is handled by the Turkish government — a process that took longer than the Canadian federal government had expected.

IOM operations co-ordinator Yasar Ogul says the process of moving people on a tight timeline was challenging but while this week's flight was the first, it won't be the last.

Turkey is hosting more than 2.5 million Syrians, one of the largest refugee populations in the region.

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