The Migrant Chaplain to Sydney's Syrian and Iraqi community has welcomed the Government's decision to resettle 500 Syrian refugees as part of its humanitarian refugee program, reports the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.
"The news is a cause for joy and fills us with happiness. When compared with the more than two million Syrian refugees now living hand-to-mouth in refugee camps or wherever they can find shelter, and millions more displaced in their own country, 500 is a small number. But this is a start and it fills us with hope," says Syrian-born Father Rahal Dergham.
The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR has asked Australia along with 16 other nations including the US, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Germany, Spain, Canada, Switzerland and France to resettle Syrian refugees.
Australia has already put its hand up to take 500 along with the US which has agreed to resettle 10,000 Syrian men, women and children. The other nations have already resettled or given sanctuary for two years or more to Syrian refugees, such as Germany, Sweden and Norway are still working out numbers and the quota of refugees they can accept.
Until now the majority of Syria's two million plus refugees forced to flee their nation's bloody violent conflict have lived in crowded refugee camps or makeshift shelters in neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
Officials currently give 750,000 as the number Syrians now living in Lebanon but the figure is believed to be nearer 1.2 million.