The Latest: EU says 330,000 granted asylum in 2015

The Latest on Europe's response to the wave of migration from Syria and other countries (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

The European Union's statistics agency says that EU countries granted asylum to more than 330,000 applicants last year, as more than 1 million people arrived in search of sanctuary or jobs.

Eurostat said Wednesday that 333,350 people were granted international protection, a 72 percent increase over 2014.

Around half of them — 166,100 people — were Syrian citizens, while 27,600 came from Eritrea and 23,700 from Iraq.

Germany, Sweden, Italy and France approved most applications. Germany took in 60 percent of the Syrians, the agency says.

Eurostat did not say how many of the approved asylum applications were made before 2015, nor did it say how many applications from last year are still pending.


12:25 p.m.

Human Rights Watch has urged Turkey to allow Syrians displaced by government shelling to cross the border to safety.

It says the Syrian army hit two migrant camps on April 13 and 15, triggering an exodus of 3,000 people.

Last week, the rights group said Turkish border guards had shot at Syrians escaping an Islamic State offensive. Turkey, home to 2.7 million Syrian refugees, rejects the claim and says it has an open-door policy toward migrants, but new arrivals are rare.

Rights groups have repeatedly slammed a new Turkey-EU deal to curtail the flood of refugees into Europe, raising questions about the safety of Syrian refugees on both sides of the Turkish border.

The rights group says tens of thousands of civilians are trapped along Turkey's border.