CAIRO, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Egypt has granted temporary residence permits to 171 Syrian and Palestinian refugees who were detained for illegally travelling across the Mediterranean to European countries, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdelatty said Tuesday.
The months-long detention triggered outcry by right groups which accused Egypt of deporting Syrian refugees by force.
Abdelatty said in a press conference that Egypt has granted 171 of 206 Syrian and Palestinian immigrants three-month residence permits, denying that the Syrian refugees had been forced to leave the country.
"Egypt didn't force the Syrian refugees to leave the country," Abdelatty said, adding that none of the 206 immigrants had asked for permanent residence in Egypt.
He stated that priority was given to women and children and the cases of the remaining refugees are under review.
As many as 325,000 Syrian nationals have fled to Egypt since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in March 2011, bringing the total number of Syrians living in Egypt to nearly 750,000.
The spokesman said the Syrians are enjoying the same rights as the Egyptians despite the hardships that Egypt is facing nowadays.
After the ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt tightened regulations for Syrian refugees to obtain entry visa. Several human rights organizations have voiced their concern about the conditions of Syrian refugees in Egypt after media reports alleged the latter violently supports Morsi.