Geneva, July 12 – The UN refugee agency Friday called for European countries to grant asylum to a growing number of Syrian refugees, many of whom are on long and dangerous journeys to seek safety in Europe.
An increasing number of Syrians are now seeking safety in countries beyond the immediate region, Xinhua quoted UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming as telling in a press briefing.
Since the conflict began in March 2011, around 123,600 Syrians have sought asylum in Europe. There are over 2.9 million refugees in countries immediately adjacent to Syria.
A new report released Friday pointed out the number is an iota of the whole Syrian refugee population- merely 4 percent.
UNHCR has called on states to provide an additional 100,000 places for Syrians in 2015 and 2016.
Just to put this into perspective, Europe has a population of 670 million people. Contrast that to Lebanon, which has a population of 4.4 million people and has received 1.1 million refugees, Fleming added. That means Lebanon has received ten times as many refugees as all of Europe.
The UN refugee body urged states to keep their doors open to asylum-seeker, with efficient legal process, and to probe all possible options, like student or employment visa, to receive refugees fleeing Syria.
European countries have to date offered nearly 32,000 places for resettlement, humanitarian and other forms of admission for refugees from Syria.