KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia has welcomed its first batch of Syrian migrants as part of its plan to take in 3,000 refugees from Syria over three years to help ease the migrant crisis.
The group of eight Syrians, comprising two families, flew in from Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday into the arms of their waiting kin at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Hairstylist Mohamed Ibrahim, 29, who has been in Malaysia since 2012, said he was grateful that his parents, brother and sister were safe in Malaysia now, The Star reported.
"Our house was destroyed in the war. I was worried something might happen to my family if they remained in Idlib city (in north-western Syria)," he said.
Like Mr Mohamed, Mr Ali Abdul Naser, 30, successfully applied to the Malaysian government to accept his family. "I cannot believe that they are here after just a month. I am very happy that they are here with me," Mr Ali was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insider news site. "At least we are all safe now. We can look forward to rebuilding our lives here," said Mr Ali, 30, also a hairstylist. "I consider Malaysia my second home."
But he hoped they could go home once there is peace in his homeland.
More than four million people have fled Syria's brutal civil war and more than seven million others are displaced within the country.