First Syrians leave for US below surge resettlement program

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 7:18 AM

S. below a speeded-up "surge operation" for refugees left Jordan on Wednesday and arrived in KS City, Missouri, to start a new life.

First Syrians leave for US below surge resettlement program

The first Syrian family to be resettled in the U. S. below a speeded-up "surge operation" for refugees left Jordan on Wednesday and arrived in KS City, Missouri, to start a new life.

Ahmad al-Abboud, who's being resettled with his wife and five children, said he's thankful to Jordan, where he's lived for three years after fleeing Syria'south civil war. But the 45-year-old from Homs, Syria, said he was prepared to construct a better life in the U. S.

"I'm happy. America is the country of freedom and democracy, there are jobs opportunities, there is excellent education, and we're looking forward to having a excellent life over there," al-Abboud said.

They've been living in Mafraq, N of Amman. Al-Abboud was unable to discover work, and the family was surviving on food coupons.

"I am prepared to integrate in the U. S. and start a new life," he told The Associated Press in Amman'south airport before the family boarded a flight to KS City.

Al-Abboud said he wanted to memorise English and discover a job maintain his family.

A spokeswoman for the social services organization helping resettle the family said they arrived in Kansas City late Wednesday night.

Since October, 1.000 Syrian refugees have moved to the U. S. from Jordan. President Barack Obama has set a target of resettling 10.000 Syrian refugees by Sept. 30.

A resettlement middle opened in Amman in Feb to assistance meet that goal, and about six hundred people are interviewed every day at the center.

The temporary processing middle will running until April twenty-eight, said U. S. Ambassador Alice Wells, who was at the airport to look the al-Abboud family depart.

Gina Kassem, the regional refugee coordinator at the U. S. Embassy in Amman, said that while the target of 10.000 applies to Syrian refugees living around the world, most will be resettled from Jordan.

"The 10.000 (figure) is a floor and not a ceiling, and it's possible to expand the number," Kassem told reporters.

While the resettlement process generally takes eighteen to twenty-four months, the surge operation will reduce the time to three months, Kassem said.

The U. N. Refugee Agency prioritizes the most assailable cases for resettlement, and refers them to the U. S. to review, Kassem said. The priority is given to high-risk groups such as unaccompanied minors and victims of torture and gender-based violence, she said.

"We don't have exclusions or see for families with certain education background, speech skills or other socio-economic factors, and we don't slice family sizes," she said.

Jordan hosts about 635.000 of the more than 4.7 million Syrians who have registered with the U. N. refugee agency after fleeing the war. The total no of Syrians in Jordan is more than 1.2 million, including those who arrived before the conflict began in 2011.

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