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France has accepted 3,000 Syrian refugees since start of conflict - official

PARIS, Oct 17 (KUNA) - France has granted asylum to around 3,000 Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country since March 2011, and the number of asylum requests granted in 2013 is double the previous rate, official sources said Thursday.
On Wednesday, President Francois Hollande agreed to an additional quota of 500 Syrians seeking asylum during a meeting to share out the burden of refugees with High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres.
"France is the leading country in the area of asylum (for people) of all origins," Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said in answer to KUNA questions.
He said that France receives about 60,000 asylum requests every year and is renowned for the quality of handling these procedures.
"France is fully aware of the distress of Syrian or Palestinian families forced into exile," Nadal remarked, adding that the demands from Syrians "are examined with particular care" in France, which "responds favourably in 95 percent of cases." The French government and immigration services also allow asylum requests to be filed in neighbouring countries to Syria, notably in Beirut, Amman, Ankara and Istanbul.
France also grants several different long-term visas to other Syrian nationals. (End) jk.ajs KUNA 171611 Oct 13NNNN