Australia has announced it will launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria within days and resettle an additional 12,000 refugees from the deepening humanitarian and security crisis in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott also said Wednesday his government will pay an additional 44 million Australian dollars ($31 million) to keep 240,000 Syrians and Iraqis in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, bringing the Australian contribution to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria to AU$230 million since 2011.

Australia's six F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters based in Dubai have been striking targets in Iraq since October last year. The legality of airstrikes in Syria is less clear.

The 12,000 refugee places announced Wednesday are in addition to Australia's usual annual refugee intake of 13,750.

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This story has been corrected to show an additional 12,000 refugees, not 20,000.