European nations granted more people asylum in 2012, including seven times as many Syrians as the previous year.

The European Union's statistical office said Tuesday the number of accepted asylum-seekers rose by 22 percent to 102,700 in 2012 from 84,300 a year earlier.

It says the number of accepted Syrians rose to 18,700 last year from 2,560 in 2011. This made the Arab nation the single-biggest country of refugee origin, taking over the top spot from Afghanistan, which had 13,500 asylum seekers accepted.

Eurostat says the 27-nation bloc's biggest host countries in 2012 were Germany, which accepted 22,000 asylum seekers, followed by Sweden, Britain and France with about 15,000 each.

About 1.6 million Syrians have fled their nation's civil war, most going to neighboring countries including Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.