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South Korean Government Accounts 200 Syrian Refugees in The Country; 165 Syrians Have Been Given 'Quasi-Refugee' Status That Grants Them Temporary Residence

by Therese Agcopra / Nov 18, 2015 11:58 PM EST
Syrians arrived in Greece by boat, while some traveled to South Korea by plane. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

South Korea has accepted a total of 200 Syrian refugees, an information from the National Intelligence Services (NIS) said Wednesday.

According to Korea Times Thursday, the government is still reviewing whether the asylum-seekers refugee status. The NIS noted that 135 of them were already given "quasi-refugee" status, while the other 65 are still undergoing a screening process in Incheon International Airport.

Those granted quasi-refugee status have been transferred to temporary shelters across the country

"The 135 Syrians staying in the shelters were already given permission to stay here for humanitarian reasons and the 65 others are waiting to undergo the screening process," said Rep Lee Cheol Woo, member of the Saeunri Party and National Assembly Intelligence Committee.

The "quasi-refugee" status grants foreigners temporary residence in South Korea under humanitarian assistance, Chosun Ilbo noted on the same day.

An official from the foreign ministry said, "The relevant governmental bodies had a meeting last year in the wake of the civil war in Syria and decided to give permission to Syrian migrants who failed to earn refugee status to stay for humanitarian reasons."

Most Syrians have fled their country to seek safe refuge overseas due to the violent and unstable state of Syria cause by the long-running civil unrest.  

Rep. Lee Cheol Woo added that the Syrians who went to Europe travelled by boat while those in South Korea arrived by plane which indicates that they might be more financially well off.

Some western countries have been called to re-evaluate their refugee programs as they strengthen their countries' security measures following the terror attacks in Paris, France this weekend. Concerns emerged after it was confirmed that one of the suicide bombers who took part in the Paris attacks is believed to have gained access to Europe by appearing as a refugee from Syria.

The NIS, however, believe that the Syrian asylum-seekers currently in the country do not pose any threat of terrorism. 

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