UAE rejects criticism over Syrian refugee intake

AFP , Wednesday 9 Sep 2015

A crying migrant child tries to prevent his mother from leaving a train to get into a bus at Rodby train station, south of Denmark, September 9, 2015 (Reuters)

The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday defended its record on helping refugees after criticism of rich Arab countries, saying it has welcomed more than 100,000 Syrians since 2011.

The total number of Syrians living in the oil-rich Gulf state now stands at about 250,000, a UAE official told AFP.

"Since the crisis began in 2011, the UAE has welcomed more than 100,000 Syrians and granted them residency permits," the official said.

In addition, the UAE had given more than $530 million (475 million euros) in aid since the conflict began in Syria, and pledged an extra $100 million in January, the official said.

The UAE funds the Mrajeeb Al-Fhood camp, near Zarqa in Jordan, which hosts more than 4,000 refugees, the official said, adding that more than $72 million of UAE aid went in the past two years to Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.

The UAE has a population of more than nine million people, mostly foreigners.

Criticism of wealthy Gulf Arab nations has grown as hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees risk their lives to reach Europe. Germany alone is expecting 800,000 new asylum applications this year.

By the end of August, more than four million Syrians had fled their war-torn country.

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