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March 24, 2014 AT 4:09 AM
Nearly half a million people sought asylum in Europe last year, the most in two decades, with the largest number coming from Syrians fleeing civil war, the European Union said on Monday. In total, 434,160 people sought refuge in the EU's 28 member states in 2013, according to Eurostat, the EU statistics office. That was an increase of nearly 30 percent from the 335,000 requests in 2012. Syria had 50,000 asylum seekers, while Russia accounted for the second-largest number, at 41,000, a 10 percent share.