President Barack Obama has directed his administration to prepare to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, a White House spokesman said on Thursday.

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The number reflects a "significant scaling up" of the U.S. commitment to accept refugees from the war-torn country and to provide for their basic needs, White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
 
The announcement comes on the heels of greater exposure to the plight of refugees from the Middle East and north Africa. 
 
 
The story that garnered the most amount of attention for refugees was the recent Alyan Kurdi, a toddler of a migrant family that drowned while treking across the mediteranean towards Greece. 

"Politicians across the continent acknowledged the impact on Thursday of images of a 3-year-old boy in a red T-shirt and tiny sneakers face down in the surf of a Turkish beach, which gave a haunting human face to the tragedy of thousands dead at sea," Reuters reported.

 
"He had a name: Alyan Kurdi. Urgent action required - A Europe-wide mobilization is urgent," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Twitter.
 
"The boy's 5-year-old brother Galip and 35-year-old mother Rehan were also among 12 people who died when two boats carrying 23 capsized while trying to reach a Greek island."