19:29 GMT06 May 2021
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    Iraqi and Syrian refugees accounted for about 37 percent of the 1.2 million asylum seekers who arrived in Europe last year, according to a report by the PEW Research Center on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — An examination of on-line searches in Arabic indicates that refugees from Iraq and Syria accounted for about 37 percent of the 1.2 million asylum seekers who arrived in Europe last year, according to a report by the PEW Research Center on Thursday.

    "Refugees from just two Middle Eastern countries — Syria and Iraq — made up a combined 38 percent of the record 1.3 million people who arrived and applied for asylum in the European Union, Norway and Switzerland in 2015 and a combined 37 percent of the 1.2 million first-time asylum applications in 2016," a press release accompanying the report stated.

    Since many refugees from Syria and Iraq speak Arabic as their native, if not only, language, the analysis of digital data focused on internet searches in Turkey that were conducted in Arabic instead of Turkic dialects, the report explained.

    Turkey-based searches for the word "Greece" in Arabic closely mirrored 2015 and 2016 fluctuations in the number of refugees crossing the Aegean Sea to Greece, the release noted.

    The hour-by-hour analysis also mirrors government and international agency refugee arrival and asylum application data in Europe from 2015 and 2016, according to the report.


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