DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) _ The government has eased restrictions on Syrians traveling abroad, including abolishing exit visas for some categories of people, an official newspaper reported Wednesday.

Syrians will now be allowed to obtain passports valid for six years and exit visas valid for multiple journeys during a one-year period, Tishreen daily quoted Interior Minister Mohammed Harba as saying.

Until now, Syrians have had to obtain several government approvals to get an exit visa valid for a single journey during a one-month period. Passports for most Syrians are valid for six months to two years.

The new measures exempt Syrians who live outside the country and those who are over 50 years old from obtaining exit visas.

The easing of restrictions will help hundreds of thousands of Syrians who work in Gulf Arab nations.