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Up to 20,000 refugees to be resettled in Britain

By PA Reporters

Published 08/09/2015

David Cameron: pledge
David Cameron: pledge

Britain is to resettle up to 20,000 refugees from Syria over the next four-and-a-half years, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

Mr Cameron told the House of Commons that the UK would live up to its moral responsibility towards the people forced from their homes by the forces of president Bashar Assad and the Islamic State terror group.

He said that Britain would take in vulnerable refugees only from camps in the region, and not those who have crossed the Mediterranean into Europe over recent months.

Mr Cameron told MPs: "We are proposing that Britain should resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the rest of this Parliament.

"In doing so, we will continue to show the world that this country is a country of extraordinary compassion, always standing up for our values and helping those in need."

The European Commission is understood to be preparing to ask EU member states to take part in a mandatory scheme to resettle 160,000 migrants.

French president Francois Hollande has said France is ready to take in 24,000 people.

Pressure to admit more Syrians has grown since the publication of photographs of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who drowned with his mother and brother trying to cross from Turkey to Greece by boat.

Mr Cameron said: "The whole country has been deeply moved by the heartbreaking images we've seen over the past few days and it's absolutely right that Britain should fulfil its moral responsibility to help those refugees. But in doing so we must use our head and our heart by pursuing a comprehensive approach that tackles the causes of the problem as well as the consequences."

Belfast Telegraph

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