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S. Korea permits entry of 26 Syrians seeking refugee status

South Korea's government said Monday it has permitted the entry of 26 Syrians who are seeking refugee status here.

The Ministry of Justice said out of 28 Syrians who have been staying at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, all except two have been allowed into the country.

The two who were not given entry are being questioned about an alleged theft.

The move came a few weeks after a local court ruled in favor of nine Syrians who filed a suit against the local immigration office for denying them the chance to go through an evaluation procedure to be acknowledged as refugees. A similar court ruling was delivered for another group of 19 Syrians earlier this month.

The immigration office had declined to even review their application saying there were no clear reasons for them to apply for asylum since they came from third countries like Turkey, China and Russia, which are safe.

The court, however, said the decision by the authorities was unfair.

The ministry said the entry permit was given in consideration of the court's decision as well as other humanitarian reasons.

Still, the ministry said it has appealed the ruling, adding it will keep monitoring the whereabouts of the Syrians until the final decision is made by a higher court. (Yonhap)

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