A FATHER who was among the first to arrive in Clackmannanshire under the Syrian resettlement programme became a British citizen last week.

Mohammed Khaled Deiraki received his citizenship during a ceremony at the Speirs Centre last Thursday, August 25.

He and wife Fayze, who have five children – Jamal, 12, Mohammad, 10, Ali, 7, Taha, 5, and Leah, 1, who was born in Scotland – arrived in the Wee County in December 2015.

Mohammed Khaled explained how the family fled to Lebanon before settling in Scotland under the UK government programme.

He told the Advertiser how the family has been very happy since arriving to Clacks, where they are rebuilding their lives with the children attending school and the father starting a job.

Since coming to Clacks, he found that people have been very friendly and he was pleased to have received citizenship.

Mohammed Khaled also praised staff at Clackmannanshire Council who have been supporting refugees arriving to the county, as well as the wonderful volunteers at Forth Valley Welcome.

It is understood that from the around 35 families, the Deirakis are the first to obtain citizenship and they will now apply for the children as well.

The Wee County has a proud history of welcoming refugees from around the world in times of conflict and crisis.

In September 2015, the council initially approved the resettlement of 24 families from the conflict in Syria.

It was deemed a success, with a number of families opening businesses such as Alloa's Syriana restaurant.

Approval was later given for a further 24 families, including those who assisted UK forces in Afghanistan, the first of whom arrived to Clacks in October 2019.

And more recently, the Wee County has thrown the gates open to help those displaced by the war in Ukraine.