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France agrees to shelter 500 Syrian refugees, UN says

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France has agreed to take in 500 Syrian refugees at the request of the United Nations following talks in Paris between French President François Hollande and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, the UN agency said Wednesday.

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France has agreed to accept 500 Syrian refugees at the request of the United Nations following talks in Paris between French President François Hollande and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, the UN agency said on Wednesday.

The refugees in question are among those considered “particularly vulnerable”, the agency’s local representative, Philippe Leclerc, told AFP.

With no end to the conflict in sight, the UN agency has urged EU nations to offer asylum to some 10,000 Syrians this year and another 30,000 in 2014.

More than two million Syrians have fled since the fighting first erupted in March 2011, mainly seeking refuge in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, and placing a huge burden on the resources of these nations.

Details of the refugee agreement with France will be discussed “in coming days”, Leclerc said.

“Until now, the country that has responded most favourably to this request is Germany with 5,000 places offered,” he added.

Some 50,000 Syrians have so far applied for asylum in the EU, mostly in Sweden and Germany.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

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