Britain says it will take in 'thousands more' Syrian refugees


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Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday morning that the UK will take in thousands more Syrian refugees, a day after pressure mounted on the British government to take more action.

Britain says it will take in 'thousands more' Syrian refugees

Speaking at a press conference in Portugal, Cameron didn't commit to a figure, but said more details of the plan would be announced next week by the government after discussing it NGOs working in the region.

But the news won't impact those already in Europe, as he said Britain would only resettle refugees from camps that are on the Syrian border. He said the UK has already resettled 5,000 Syrians.

"Britain will act with our head and our heart," he said.

Speaking after Cameron's announcement, the U.N. refugee agency said Britain will take a further 4,000 Syrian refugees from camps in the Middle East.

"We obviously welcome very much the move to increase resettlement spaces for Syrians in the UK. Those spaces are going to be critical to the lives and future of 4,000 people," said spokeswoman Melissa Fleming.

"We certainly believe that there's the momentum here" for other countries to follow suit.

A spokeswoman in the 10 Downing Street press office refused to confirm or deny the figure of 4,000 to The Associated Press saying that no specifics would be provided until next week.

In the past few days the government has faced increasing pressure to do more about the refugee crisis. Thousands of British people signed petitions and made their views heard on social media, demanding more action after the publication of a photo that showed a three-year-old Syrian boy drowned on a beach in Turkey. Toddler Alan Kurdi from Kobane died along with his brother and mother while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos.

Cameron's announcement on Friday is a U-turn on statements he made earlier in the week.

On Wednesday, Cameron said that "taking more and more refugees" is not the answer. A day later he said Britain would fulfil its "moral responsibilities." Britain has been the second-biggest bilateral donor of aid to Syria, pledging £900 million.

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