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UAE defends its response to the Syrian refugee crisis, citing residency permit extensions, aid

FILE- In this Wednesday, July 29, 2015 photo, a Syrian refugee boy plays with a tire at Zaatari refugee camp, in Mafraq, Jordan. The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015 defended its response to the Syrian refugee crisis in the face of criticism that the country and other oil-rich Gulf states should be doing more to address the issue. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh, File)

FILE- In this Wednesday, July 29, 2015 photo, a Syrian refugee boy plays with a tire at Zaatari refugee camp, in Mafraq, Jordan. The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015 defended its response to the Syrian refugee crisis in the face of criticism that the country and other oil-rich Gulf states should be doing more to address the issue. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh, File)  (The Associated Press)

The United Arab Emirates is defending its response to the Syrian refugee crisis in the face of criticism that oil-rich Gulf states like it should be doing more to address the issue.

The government released a statement Wednesday saying that it has extended residency permits to more than 100,000 Syrians who have entered the country since 2011, and that more than 242,000 Syrian nationals currently live in the country.

It says it has provided more than $530 million in humanitarian aid and development assistance since 2012 in response to the Syrian crisis.

The Emirates is a seven-state federation that includes the Mideast commercial hub of Dubai and the oil-rich capital, Abu Dhabi. It is the Arab world's second-largest economy.