The Ministry of the Interior announced today its decision to grant asylum to four Syrian families, a total of 13 people, and thereof six children. The families are currently staying in Turkey and preparations for their arrival have already begun in collaboration with the appropriate government agencies, local authorities and the Icelandic Red Cross.
In an agreement with the United Nations in May, the Icelandic government accepted its responsibility to take on a number of refugees from the war-torn country and announced that a special emphasis would be placed on offering asylum to particularly vulnerable groups, such as single women and LGBT people. The Ministry of the Interior later decided to add families with children to this list.
The civil war in Syria has been ongoing for the past three years. According to estimates, at least nine million people have been forced to leave their homes, and over 2.5 million of them have fled the country and sought shelter in neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
The governments of these countries have attempted to accommodate the displaced people, but the strain is becoming too much to bear, and international agencies, such as the UN, fear that the violence may spread beyond Syria’s borders, as stated on the website of the Ministry of the Interior.