THREE Syrian children are building a new life in Hampshire after escaping the horrors of their war-torn homeland.

Members of the Haidar family saw their lives turned upside down in 2015 when the Syrian village of Sadad was attacked by ISIS.

Mark Haidar, 11, and his two sisters, Merai, 13, and five-year-old Merela became separated from their parents. Antoun and Nsrine Haidar were subsequently captured by ISIS but their children returned to the village and spent a year being looked after by members of the local community.

Last year they came to England with the help of Safe Passage to the UK and are living with relatives in the Winchester area.

But the children are desperate to be reunited with their parents. Initially feared dead, mum and dad have returned to Sadad following an advance by the Syrian army.

So far more than 8,000 refugees have arrived in this country under the government’s Syrian resettlement scheme.

Three years ago ministers announced that 20,000 Syrians driven from the war-torn country would be taken in by the UK by 2020.

The scheme was drawn up following a public outcry over the fate of those attempting the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean.

Now the Haidar children are adjusting to life in England and taking an ever-greater role in the local community.

They took part in a Palm Sunday parade from the Great Hall in Winchester to the city’s cathedral.

Their uncle, Georges Haidar, of Compton, said: “Their parents are back in the village and the children are over here with us.“We thought their parents had died - we didn’t have any news of them for one-and-a-half years.“We are supporting the children a lot and trying to make life as normal for them as we can.”

Understandably they want to be with the parents - but here rather than in Syria.”

Georges’s wife wife Elizabeth added: “They are incredibly strong and very determined. They have received great support from people at the cathedral, who have been amazing.

“Everyone has been determined to do their bit.”