The first batch of Syrian refugees landed late on Thursday in Toronto, Canada. They were part of the 25,000 Syrians the Canadian government has decided to give refuge to by the end of February.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's policy for rehabilitating the Syirians in crisis had been one of the reasons for his win in the recent elections. He has also pushed for a diverse cabinet since then.
The Canadian military plane, carrying 163 Syrians, landed in Toronto on Thursday while another batch is expected to arrive in Montreal on Saturday. A total of 300 refugees are expected.
A screening process in Jordan and Lebanon is conducted every day in which 800 refugees go through health and security inspections.
Before the arrival of the first plane on Thursday, Trudeau told the staff and volunteers: "This is a wonderful night, where we get to show not just a planeload of new Canadians what Canada is all about, we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome in people who are fleeing extraordinarily difficult situations.
"They step off the plane as refugees, but they walk out of this terminal as permanent residents of Canada with social insurance numbers, with health cards and with an opportunity to become full Canadians," AP quoted him as saying. "This is something that we are able to do in this country because we define a Canadian not by a skin color or a language or a religion or a background, but by a shared set of values, aspirations, hopes and dreams that not just Canadians but people around the world share."
Canada's 10 provincial premiers have agreed to house the Syrians. Even members of the opposition were present for the arrival of the first plane.
Toronto Star, Canada's largest circulated newspaper on Thursday read "Welcome to Canada", with the Arabic translation "Ahlan wa sahlan".
The newspaper read: "You'll find the place a little bigger than Damascus or Aleppo, and a whole lot chillier. But friendly for all that. We're a city that cherishes its diversity; it's our strength."