Canada PM urges generosity for Syrian refugees

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is among more than 40 heads of state and government expected to attend next week's World Economic Forum in Davos (AFP Photo/Sean Kilpatrick) (pool/AFP)

Ottawa (AFP) - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used his Christmas address Wednesday to urge fellow Canadians to warmly welcome Syrian refugees.

"This year, Canadians are welcoming thousands of Syrian refugees to our country -- people who have been forced to flee their homeland due to war and conflict," he said in a statement.

"I encourage all Canadians to show them a warm holiday welcome in keeping with our values of compassion, kindness, and generosity."

Trudeau's Liberal government has pledged to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February.

The prime minister earlier this month personally welcomed the first group to arrive at the Toronto airport aboard a military transport plane.

The hospitality being shown by Canadians stands in contrast to the colder approach of the neighboring United States.

President Barack Obama has pledged to take in 10,000 Syrians over the course of this fiscal year, and many American states -- apparently fearing Islamist extremists will be hiding amid the refugee flow -- have said they do not want them.