Syrian couple's Elizabethan thank you to the country which saved them from the horrors of war

Ali Helal, Burouk Aldbi and daughter Elizabeth, who they named after Her Majesty the Queen to say thanks for taking them in
Ali Helal, Burouk Aldbi and daughter Elizabeth, who they named after Her Majesty the Queen to say thanks for taking them in
Have your say

A Syrian couple who escaped the horrors of the conflict in their homeland have named their child Elizabeth as a thank you to the country which took them in.

Ali Helal and Burouk Aldbi say the gesture is the least they could have done to express their gratitude for the country's 'generosity and hospitality' to them.

Ali, 25, and his pregnant wife, 22, arrived in England in October last year. Elizabeth was born three months later.

The couple came from Homs - Syria's third largest city - Syria, via Lebanon to Sheffield.

Two of Ali's brothers, Alaa and Bahaa, came to South Yorkshire with the couple.

Another two brothers, Ahmed and Mohammed, were killed in the fighting.

"Homs is very bad," the Poppel Street, e said.

Ali, who speaks little English, used a gun gesture to emphasise the point of how bad his home region has become.

Large portions of the city have been destroyed by the war.

Ali and Burouk wrote to the Queen to tell of their thanks and naming their daughter after her.

They enclosed two photographs of Elizabeth with the letter.

Ali and Burouk received a reply from Lady-in-Waiting, Mary Morrison, thanking them for their gesture.

"The Queen was very touched that you have named your daughter Elizabeth in honour of Her Majesty and the Queen greatly appreciated the sentiments you expressed," the letter read.

"I am to thank you, very much, for your thoughtfulness in writing to Her Majesty as you did."

The couple have five-year Visas to stay in the country. After that, they said they would like to settle in England.

In the meantime, Ali has royal ambitions. He wants to meet the Queen to personally say thank you for helping him get out of Syria.

"I want to express my feelings," he said.

"I like Britain and I like the Queen.

"The people are very nice, and we wanted to say thank you to them."

The couple have settled in Popple Street, Fir Vale.

Ali is learning to speak English. Ali said he wasn't finding it too hard so far.

"Little bit at a time," he said.

Today's top stories

Terrified residents warn another Spital Hill attack is "imminent" as gang war intensifies

Drugs and weapons seized during series of police raids in South Yorkshire

Sneaky South Yorkshire burglar issued with civil liberties injunction

BREAKING: Traffic chaos in Sheffield city centre after crash

Shoppers watch on in shock as group of women start mass brawl in Meadowhall

Yorkshire residents urged to shower together due to increased hot weather water usage

Alan Biggs: Carlos Carvalhal, the power of a good interview and the rise of the ‘unknown’ bosses

Alan Biggs: How Chris Wilder’s striking the right balance with his Sheffield United transfer targets

Sheffield Wednesday: Get all the latest Owls stats

Sheffield United: Get all the Blades stats