Published: Wednesday July 25, 2012 MYT 5:11:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday July 25, 2012 MYT 7:13:25 PM
First batch of Malaysians evacuated from Syria back home
By P. ARUNA
SEPANG: The first batch of students from Syria arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 4:11pm Wednesday after the flight was delayed by an hour.
The seven students who arrived on the EK 346 Emirates flight were welcomed by Deputy Foreign Minister Richard Riot Jaem.
The students were Abdul Halim Mohammad Ghazali, 21, Mohd Luqman Saidin, 23, Muhammad Afifuddin Md Tahir, 23, Muhammad Hasan Hilmi Hassan Shukri, 21, Muhammad Othman Zawawi, 23, Muhammad Rusydi Ilhami Ahmad Fahmi, 22, and Syed Abdul Rahman Syed Ramli, 24.
Riot said 101 more students were expected to arrive in three batches on Thursday.
The Government had decided to fly Malaysian students in Syria back home in view of the country's internal political crisis.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman had announced on Tuesday that the first chartered flight to carry the Malaysian evacuees would arrive at KL International Airport Tuesday while the second batch would arrive Wednesday.
Anifah said the Malaysian Embassy in Damascus was making all efforts to ensure the students were evacuated as quickly as possible.
He earlier announced that the Government would commence an evacuation exercise to bring Malaysians home immediately as a precautionary measure following the civil war in Syria.
The Government has also urged all Malaysians in Syria to leave the country immediately, while those planning to travel there were advised to postpone their plans.
It said all 138 Malaysians, comprising 128 students and 10 expatriates registered with the embassy, were safe and accounted for.
The Malaysian ambassador and four other embassy officials will also be temporarily withdrawn from Syria once the evacuation was completed.