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Read more about the international migrant crisis in VICE News' blog 'Open Water.'Warning: Graphic photos belowUS Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that the United States was "committed to" taking in more of the Syrian refugees fleeing the ongoing civil war in their country.Kerry spoke to reporters after discussing the migrant crisis in Europe with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. However, he did not elaborate on how many refugees would be accepted or when. Since the start of the civil war in Syria, the United States has taken in about 1,500 refugees, with 300 more expected to clear by October according to the State Department.
The growing plight of refugees escaping conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere has received renewed focus in recent weeks, as videos and photos of the dead or fleeing have gained international attention.Related: How a Single Photograph May Be Changing the Way the World ThinksEach year, hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants cross the Mediterranean, often in dangerous conditions and unseaworthy vessels. In the last six months, nearly 137,000 people have attempted the journey; about 2,300 have died. Photos of a drowned 3-year-old Syrian boy of Kurdish descent named Aylan Kurdi provoked worldwide outrage and protests last week, forcing some European and wealthier nations to re-examine their migrant quotas. The government responses have varied.
Germany said it could take in a further 500,000 Syrian refugees this week, while the UK said it would accept 20,000 more refugees before the end of 2015. Meanwhile, Australia announced Wednesday it will accept 12,000 refugees from Syria on top of its current humanitarian intake quota.At least 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean seeking refuge in Europe this year and next, the United Nations said on Tuesday. The UN refugee agency UNHCR called for more cohesive asylum policies to deal with the growing numbers.