Asylum seekers from Syria staying in hotel at centre of High Court battle say they're 'grateful' to have refuge

Two Syrian men staying in a hotel which took in asylum seekers this week have said they are grateful to finally get refuge after fleeing their war-torn homeland.

Yusef, 28, and Khalid, 25, said they now hoped build new lives in the UK after fleeing Syria which remains embroiled in a more than decade-long civil war. They spent around a month in the asylum processing facility in Manston, Kent, after arriving in the UK and said they had to sleep on the floor because of overcrowding.

Yusef and Khalid were among the first men to arrive at the Humber View Hotel, in North Ferriby, after the High Court dismissed a bid to stop asylum seekers being housed there. Mr Justice Holgate’s dismissal of East Riding Council’s legal challenge gave the Home Office the go ahead to move up to 77 single adult men to the hotel.

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The High Court heard the hotel was set to be used for at least 12 months amid a mounting asylum claims backlog and centres including Manston running well over capacity. But East Riding councillors said at a meeting yesterday (Wednesday, November 16) they were concerned the Humber View Hotel was too isolated and far from local services.

Yusef, 28, and Khalid, 25, said they now hoped build new lives in the UK after fleeing SyriaYusef, 28, and Khalid, 25, said they now hoped build new lives in the UK after fleeing Syria
Yusef, 28, and Khalid, 25, said they now hoped build new lives in the UK after fleeing Syria

The two Syrian men said they were simply glad to have somewhere comfortable to stay after ordeals which lasted years in Khalid’s case. Yusef said he had managed to speak to his family in Syria after striking up a friendship with Khalid who let him use his phone. Yusef said all he had at the moment was the clothes he was wearing.

The 28-year-old said: “I don’t have anything else, but the hotel here is good. In Syria, people are displaced, there’s kidnapping, there’s war, it’s very bad there. I was in Manston for 25 days, there was no bed, I slept on the floor. I’ve managed to speak to my family now and as far as I know they’re safe.”

Khalid, from Aleppo in north west Syria, said he spent five years in Turkey after fleeing his home country and has not been back since.

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The 25-year-old said: “I’m happy to have a bed now, things are better here, I was in Manston for a month. I’ve come to Britain to be safe, eventually I’d like to learn to speak English properly and live and work here. Britain is the place that’s given me asylum and safety. I’m thankful for everyone here that’s helped me.”

Humber View hotel in North FerribyHumber View hotel in North Ferriby
Humber View hotel in North Ferriby

The Home Office said Manston was meant to have between 1,000 and 1,600 people passing through it every day but around 4,000 people were there at the end of October. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Home Office are working to give asylum seekers across England diphtheria jabs amid fears of disease outbreaks in the overcrowded centre.

Meanwhile, East Riding councillors called on the Home Office to consult authorities and locals in future after plans for the Humber View Hotel emerging at short notice sparked a backlash. Council Leader Cllr Jonathan Owen said the authority’s legal challenge was not about asylum seekers themselves but about informing the public and avoiding the use of unsuitable locations.

The Home Office has previously said the use of hotels is a short-term solution to cope with record numbers of arrivals to the UK.