LISBON: Portugal is considering asylum requests from a group of 74 Syrians detained after flying in from Guinea-Bissau using fake Turkish passports, the head of the Portuguese Council for Refugees said on Wednesday.
State-run news agency Lusa quoted Teresa Tito Morais as saying the 21 children, 15 women and 38 men were being sheltered in social security centres and Catholic charity facilities.
"They've requested asylum and will now be interviewed by the authorities to get the process going," she said, adding they would remain in Portugal at least until the end of the process, which could last two months.
She said Portugal's capacity to receive refugees was strained by its economic crisis, but " Portugal will do what it can to rescue the victims of the war in Syria".
Diario de Noticias daily said earlier on Wednesday Guinean authorities had forced the crew of Portugal's TAP airline flight from Bissau to Lisbon to take the group on board despite knowing their passports were fake. Portuguese authorities and TAP declined to comment on the report.
The group had arrived in Guinea from Turkey via Morocco.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war, many taking refuge in neighbouring Turkey. The United Nations expects another 2 million Syrians to become refugees in 2014.