A FIRST cohort of Syrian refugee families are likely to arrive in Oxford in the coming weeks, according to the city council.

Yesterday ((04/12)) Oxford City Council confirmed that the first few families being resettled from camps in the Middle East would arrive in the city in December.

They are among the first to be re-housed in the UK following Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge in September that 20,000 Syrian refugees would be resettled by 2020.

The council has been working alongside neighbouring councils, voluntary and faith organisations, including charities Asylum Welcome and Oxford City of Sanctuary, to make preparations and put support in place.

Those that arrive are to be housed in private rented sector accommodation so as not to negatively affect Oxford residents who are already on the housing waiting list.

They are also not likely to be the last, according to Oxford City Council leader Bob Price.

He said:“The city has a proud history of welcoming refugees, and we have been working closely with Asylum Welcome and City of Sanctuary alongside other agencies in preparing to welcome and resettle a number of refugee families who have been selected through the United Nations Human Rights Commission programme.

“I have been very pleased with the level of co-operation from many local organisations and the offers of support from individuals. I would like to thank everyone involved for their help and hard work. 

“There will be challenges ahead and we will continue to work together to play our part in helping people who are fleeing the turmoil in Syria, and have agreed to offer support to further families in the New Year.”