NORTH Ayrshire Council has welcomed refugees from Syria this week.

The council is one of only five local authorities in Scotland to be taking in some of the 100 refugees who arrived on Tuesday morning - the largest group to arrive since the government expanded its resettlement scheme in September.

The group - thought to be mainly families - landed at Glasgow Airport on the first of a series of charter flights carrying refugees.

A number of them will be resettled in to North Ayrshire over the coming weeks.

Officials say the UK only agrees to accept refugees who have committed to undergoing a two-stage security screening process.

Those set to arrive in Glasgow are from refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and other countries near Syria.

They include people suffering from health problems, including post traumatic stress disorder, according to reports.

A council spokesperson said: “Today, North Ayrshire Council will join five other Scottish local authorities in welcoming refugees from Syria.

“We look forward to placing the families in their new homes and working with our partners to help these

vulnerable people settle and adapt to their new lives.

“We believe strongly that everyone should be free to live without fear of persecution.

“We have been working closely with the Home Office who have a rigorous vetting programme in operation.”

MSP Kenny Gibson told the Herald: “The terrorist outrage in Paris last weekend serves as a jarring reminder of the violent and twisted ideology of the so-called Islamic State.

“Sadly such attacks are not unique and many parts of the Middle East and Libya remain engulfed in war and barbarism – perpetrated by these vile murderers.

“That people are seeking to flee the bloodshed is entirely understandable and the perilous journey that many undertake to escape demonstrates their desperation to find safety.

“Sadly many do not survive the voyage and bodies continue to wash up on Mediterranean beaches.

“I believe that we have a duty to help those in crisis and I am proud that Scotland is doing its bit to lend a hand to those in need – as we always have in generations gone by and it is heartening to see cross-party consensus in North Ayrshire on this issue.

“Using money provided from the Foreign Aid Budget, North Ayrshire Council will accommodate 50 - 100 refugees in our communities over the next five years and help them to settle in.

“I am confident that local residents will extend their hospitality to the refugees and make them feel at home under what are extremely difficult circumstances for them.

“I understand that the council has been inundated with donations of clothing, furniture and toys from generous local residents and I would advise that anyone who wishes to offer further assistance – including English lessons, translating and befriending should visit”

Solidarity list candidate Trish Byrne said: “Let us not fall into the trap of creating a false distinction between ‘refugees’ and ‘economic migrants’. Syrian refugees flee war created by Western countries; Bangladeshis flee poverty imposed by Western countries. Either way, we caused the problem that they are fleeing from.

“The idea of segregating refugees into deserving and undeserving poor stems from Victorian times. Syrian, Afghan, Scottish, English, Pakistani, Polish working class: we are all one against the lying, cheating, greedy ruling classes.”

Jackson Carlaw MSP said: "It was right the Scottish Government agreed to take its share of the UK intake. I hope the authorities and people across North Ayrshire will all work together to ensure this integration can be as successful as possible.”

Margaret McDougall MSP said: “I’d like to extend a warm welcome to the first refugees arriving in Scotland and I’m glad to see Ayrshire is playing its part.
“The refugees arriving here have been properly vetted and we must remember that they are fleeing the same horrors that we saw in Paris over the weekend. Their home country is no longer safe and I hope that we in Scotland can welcome them with open arms in to our communities and show the rest of the world that Scotland is a welcoming and inclusive nation.”