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Calgary Welcomes First Syrian Refugees

Friends and strangers greeted the arrivals with hugs and gifts.

Hugs, signs and gifts greeted the first Syrian refugees to arrive in Calgary on Monday.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the 16 arrivals represented the first of 400 families who will be arriving in the city over the next few months.

About 60 Calgarians, both friends and strangers, were waiting at the airport to welcome the new arrivals, holding gifts of snacks, flowers, warm clothes, and welcoming signs.

Terez Khazaka had not seen her parents in five years, according to Global News. She applied for them to come to Canada as refugees one year ago. On Monday, they were reunited.

“It means a lot because we used to go every couple of years to see them but because of the war, we couldn’t,” Khazaka told 660 News. “It was very emotional not seeing them and know that they are in danger. So, it makes it even worse for us. It’s a day I have been waiting more than a year and a half to happen.”

Antoine Yousef, who arrived in Calgary with his wife, three-year-old twin daughter, sister-in-law, and 80-year-old mother told the Calgary Herald that he's delighted to have finally made it to Canada.

“I’m so proud for my daughters to be raised here in Canada, in this great country. You have democracy, freedom, friendly people, everything,” said Yousef through his cousin Esho, who acted as a translator.

Also on HuffPost:

Canada's Response To Syria Refugee Crisis Since 2011
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