President Michelle Bachelet says Chile will welcome "an important number" of Syrian refugees.

When Bachelet spoke during a religious ceremony late Monday, she didn't specify the country of origin of the refugees Chile would accept. But her foreign ministry confirmed Tuesday that Chile would receive Syrians fleeing the civil war in the largest refugee crisis since World War II.

The ministry said in a statement that the government is fast-tracking measures to issue visas so Syrian families can enter the country as soon as possible.

Bachelet said Chile will take in the refugees because she believes it is a tragedy affecting all of humanity.

Elsewhere in South America, Uruguay accepted 42 Syrian refugees in October 2014. But those refugees now want to leave, saying the country is too expensive and they cannot find jobs. The five families are protesting outside Montevideo's presidential building.

This week, neighboring Argentina said that its doors are also open to Syrians refugees and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that his country is ready to receive 20,000 people from Syria.