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Italy flies in Syrian refugees via air ‘humanitarian corridor’

29/02 18:25 CET

Italy flies in Syrian refugees via air ‘humanitarian corridor’
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"I feel happy here but a little nervous, you know, stressed, new life, a new place I've never been"

Italy has been accepting groups of Syrian refugees, flying them in by plane and sparing them the risk of dangerous sea and border crossings.

The first arrivals were greeted on February 4. On Monday another group of 93 flew into Rome airport on a commercial flight from Beirut.

The refugees had been living in camps in Lebanon after fleeing the civil war; they have been granted humanitarian visas.

“I feel happy here but a little nervous, you know, stressed, new life, a new place I’ve never been. My dreams are not that big a dream. I just want to continue my studying, work, have a normal life,” said Mirvat Sayeg, a 23 year-old refugee from Aleppo.

“I saw a lot of good people today and I think it will be a good journey for me to start my career here and have a new future,” added 29-year-old Nakhle Abbpoud.

The project was launched by Italian religious organisations including Catholic and Protestant churches, and the lay organisation the Community of Sant’Egidio.

The plan is for a larger number of refugees to come to Italy legally via the new “humanitarian corridor” by air.

The country’s Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni has hailed the scheme as a model for other countries to follow.

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