Syria conflict prompts Brazil to offer humanitarian visas

In this Sunday, Sept 22, 2013 photo, Syrian internally displaced families gather at an abandoned land where they have taken shelter after fleeing their village that turned into a battlefield between government forces and Free Syrian Army fighters in
In this Sunday, Sept 22, 2013 photo, Syrian internally displaced families gather at an abandoned land where they have taken shelter after fleeing their village that turned into a battlefield between government forces and Free Syrian Army fighters in Idlib province, northern Syria. The Brazilian government on Tuesday agreed to provide two-year humanitarian visas for Syrian and other citizens affected by the Syria conflict, the justice ministry and UN officials said. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

BRASïLIA (AFP) - The Brazilian government on Tuesday agreed to provide two-year humanitarian visas for Syrian and other citizens affected by the Syria conflict, the justice ministry and UN officials said.

So far, 250 Syrians affected by the conflict have arrived in Brazil, but the number has increased in the past few days, with the government receiving 27 refugee status requests just last Friday, the ministry added.

A ministry spokesman said the government took the action because Brazil has a large, long-established Syrian community.

Brazil opposes any military intervention in Syria that is not authorized by the UN Security Council.

According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, the civil war in Syria has triggered an exodus of two million people.

The visas, which can also be granted to relatives of the displaced, do not provide refugee status, which must be requested on arrival in Brazil, the ministry said.