Venezuela offers to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees

September 8, 2015 15:38

CARACAS - Venezuela is prepared to give asylum to 20,000 refugees from the conflict in Syria, President Nicolas Maduro said.

The socialist leader's offer late on Monday came as Europe struggles to cope with record numbers of asylum seekers escaping conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Their plight is capturing the attention of the world.

"How many more Arabs must die before a great human conscience of peace is awakened?" Maduro said.

"I want 20,000 Syrians to come to our Venezuelan fatherland, to share this land of peace, of Christ, of (independence hero Simon) Bolivar, and to help with the development of this magical land," he added at a cabinet meeting.

More than 4 million Syrians have fled civil war in their nation in the last four years, according to the United Nations' refugee agency.

Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez have both expressed support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and described the conflict as a Western "imperialist" plot.

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