Australia to take 12,000 refugees, join Syria strikes

(CNN)Australia will take in an extra 12,000 migrants fleeing conflict in the Middle East, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, as he confirmed the country would be joining airstrikes against ISIS in Syria this week.


The intake almost doubles the number of people currently allowed into Australia through its humanitarian program, which is currently capped at 13,750 each year.


Priority would go to persecuted minorities — especially women, children and families — who are currently in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, Abbott announced Wednesday.


“We want the 12,000 to come in as quickly as possible. We’re not putting a timetable on it because we do have to make all of these important checks; health, security, character, because it is important that we bring in people who are going to be contributors to the Australian community,” he said.


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