Council is willing to help refugees fleeing Syria but says it has not been asked to get involved yet in ‘complex’ process of resettling refugees.

Torridge District Council is ‘willing and available’ to assist refugees fleeing Syria, according to its leader.

But the council is not at a stage where it has yet been asked to, says Councillor Jane Whittaker.

On Saturday, around 70 people rallied outside of Riverbank House to show support for refugees in Torridge.

Assistance to anyone seeking assylum is led by government policy.

But with the Syrian refugee crisis, it is possible district and county councils in the UK will be asked to provide additional assistance.

This comes as part of the existing Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, to provide assistance to 20,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees in camps near the border, over the next five years.

Councillor Whittaker said: “Stories in the national press have led to speculation that perhaps councils are not doing everything they can to help refugees in the current crisis.

“However the simple truth of the matter is that the council has not yet been approached to provide any assistance or found a channel through which it could offer practical help.

“From TDC’s perspective, we remain willing and available to assist, in whatever way we can, should we be called on or an opportunity to do so presents itself.

“In the meantime I understand that if people wish to provide more immediate assistance, then they can contact the Refugee Council for Great Britain who may be able to explain the different ways in which residents can provide help.”

It is understood the Syrians chosen to resettle in the UK will be transferred to areas offering support by the Refugee Council.

This is a voluntary scheme and to date it has been mainly cities and towns involved in the ‘complex’ process of resettling refugees, TDC advised.