Australia to take in 12,000 Syrians
09 Septembar 2015, Nirapad News: Australia has said it will take in more Syrian refugees, amid pressure to do more to help people displaced by violence in the Middle East.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday said Australia would accept 12,000 Syrian refugees from persecuted minorities.
That is on top of the 13,750 overall refugee intake for 2015, bbc.com reported.
Australia will also expand its role fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS) to include its Syrian strongholds.
The Australian air force has been bombing IS targets in Iraq for about 12 months, but the US last month asked Australia to help pursue targets in Syria.
“This is a very significant increase in Australia’s humanitarian intake and it’s a generous response to the current emergency,” said Abbott at a press conference in Canberra.
“Our focus for these new 12,000 permanent resettlement places will be those people most in need of permanent protection – women, children and families from persecuted minorities who have sought temporary refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey,” he said.
The government will also give A$44m ($32m; £21m) to the UN to directly pay for the support of 240,000 displaced people in countries neighbouring Syria and Iraq.
There has been mounting public and political pressure, including from within his own party, for Abbott to increase refugee aid and to accept many more refugees.