TWO families from war-torn Syria have arrived in Galashiels.

A further eight families will also make their homes in the Scottish Borders over the next four years as part of the Home Office's resettlement scheme.

Scottish Borders Council agreed during its November meeting to house ten families as the crisis in and around Syria continues.

And last month the first of those families arrived in the area.

A spokesperson for the local authority told us: “The council agreed at a meeting on November 12 last year to commit to the resettlement of ten Syrian refugee families in the Borders over the next four years as part of the Home Office’s resettlement scheme.

“Since this decision, the council and a range of partner organisations including the voluntary sector have been working together to ensure that the first two families to arrive in the region are properly settled and supported.

“After agreement with the Home Office, two families have now been resettled in the Borders.

"The council and its partners will continue to support the refugee families going forward and prepare for the next families to arrive.”

Officials at Newtown St Boswells decided Galashiels was the best location for the new families due to its transport links, and access to local services and support networks.

Other towns will be considered for future families through the Home Office's Syrian Vulnerable Person Scheme.

The spokesperson added: "In order for someone to be eligible for the scheme they must meet the criteria which makes them a genuine refugee.

"The scheme prioritises refugees who are women and children at risk, people in severe need of medical care and survivors of torture and violence."

In the first six months of 2015, more than 220,000 people crossed the Mediterranean to Europe - most of them were fleeing as war raged across their Syrian homeland. The mass migration towards European safety has continued into this year.

The UK Government agreed in September to accept up to 20,000 refugees over five years to help ease the crisis.

Under the UK Government scheme, each of the refugees will be granted five years humanitarian protection before they can decide to either return home or apply to settle in their adopted country.

No dates have yet been set for the next families to arrive in the Borders.