At least 17 countries around the world, including Australia, the U.S. and many from Europe, have signified interest in taking-in refugees fleeing the almost three-year old civil conflict currently rampaging Syria. The United Nations lauded the countries' collaborative effort, although the respective governments have yet to formally issue a quota-based number of refugees each is willing to take in.
António Guterres, the UN's high commissioner for refugees, announced the development at a news conference on Tuesday after attending a meeting in Geneva. Representatives from Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, the four countries that have absorbed most of Syria's refugees, were also present during the meeting.
Mr Guterres said the 10,000 number was flaunted during the meeting, according to a report by the New York Times. It was not clear if the number was a per country quota or a collaborative one. The U.S., for its part, said it would seek first to consult with its various government departments before issuing a number. Mr Guterres, however, hoped it would be bigger than 10,000.
"We in Europe must not only keep our hearts and wallets open, but also our borders," Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union's commissioner for humanitarian affairs and crisis response, was quoted by the New York Times.
Earlier, Michel Suleiman, Lebanon's president, had issued a plea for help because his country could no longer manage the number of refugees coming from Syria. Wael Abu Faour, Labanon's minister of social affairs, had threatened diplomats present in the Geneva meeting on Monday they would turn the tables on them if the other nations continue to fail providing support more than financial aid.
"Nothing of significance has materialized so far, not one hospital, not one school," Mr Faour said. "We are more than disappointed. We are frustrated. It has been more than two years of advice, of lessons, of promises and nothing."
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