Middle East

Syrian asylum seekers soared in Sweden in 2012

Syrian refugees walk near newly pitched tents at the Al-Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, January 1, 2013. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji

STOCKHOLM: The number of refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria and seeking asylum in Sweden increased more than tenfold in 2012 compared with the year before, putting the Scandinavian country on the top of the list for Syrians seeking shelter in Europe.

The preliminary statistics, published Thursday by the national migration agency, shows that 7,800 Syrians sought refuge in Sweden in the past 12 months, soaring from 640 in 2011.

The influx is due to the Syrian conflict where rebels are fighting to topple President Bashar Assad's regime. The fighting began in March 2011, and the U.N. said that over 60,000 people have died since.

Although the agency says Sweden is the top destination for asylum-seeking Syrians, Germany led the 2012 tally of the total number of received asylum applications.





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