Yellowknife welcomes first family of Syrian refugees

A group of Northerners gathered at Yellowknife's city hall on Friday to welcome the city's newest residents: a family of six Syrian refugees.

'[We] are seeking a much better life over here,' said Mustafa of his family's long journey

Mustafa, his wife and four children arrived in Yellowknife Thursday evening. The family of six have been living in Beirut since they fled Syria in 2012. (Fran Hurcomb)

A group of Northerners gathered at Yellowknife's city hall on Friday to welcome a family of six Syrian refugees who are settling in the capital under the current sponsorship program.

The federal government matched the family with a sponsorship group of Yellowknife citizens last January.

"[We] are seeking a much better life over here," said Mustafa, who asked that his family's last name not be used, through a translator at a press conference held Friday afternoon at City Hall.   

Mustafa and his family shop for winter clothes at Yellowknife's Weaver and Devore Friday afternoon.

Mustafa, his wife and four young children arrived in Yellowknife Thursday, after making the long journey from Beirut, where they've been living since they fled Syria in 2012.

"[We] are focusing on the future of [our] kids because in Lebanon there was no future at all," he said. 

Mustafa added that his four young children "are all excited about going to school," and are looking forward to playing "football [soccer]," the family's favourite sport.

As for the cold northern weather, the family spent Friday afternoon shopping for winter gear and getting settled in a new apartment the sponsorship group has been outfitting since January. 

with files from Hilary Bird and Mitch Wiles