Chile Government Says It Will Take In Syrian Refugees

SANTIAGO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Chile's government said on Tuesday that it will take in families seeking refuge from Syria's civil war, joining South American neighbors Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia, which already host refugees from the war-torn nation.

"To address the grave humanitarian crisis affecting thousands of Syrian citizens, Chile's government ... has begun reviewing the necessary paperwork to take in as quickly as possible Syrian families that seek refuge," the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it was speeding up the processing of visas for Syrians that have requested them.

"Chile has experience with this ... the decision has already been made by the President and it will happen as soon as possible," said Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz.

Initially, Chile could take in some 100 Syrian families, Munoz said.

Europe has been struggling to cope with a flood of refugees and migrants escaping strife in the Middle East and Africa. A photo of a drowned Syrian toddler whose family was trying to reach Europe by boat triggered an outpouring of sympathy and criticism that rich countries were not doing enough to help. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Christian Plumb)