Britain to accept thousands more Syrian refugees

Updated: 2015-09-04 19:11


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Britain to accept thousands more Syrian refugees

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron waves to reporters after his arrival for a meeting with Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (unseen) at Moncloa palace in Madrid, Spain, September 4, 2015. Cameron agreed on Friday that Britain would take in "thousands more" Syrian refugees, after an outpouring of emotion over the image of a Syrian toddler lying dead on a Turkish beach put him under pressure to act. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - Britain will take in thousands more refugees from camps on the Syrian border, Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Friday after mounting pressure from the public and political figures triggered by images of the body of a drowned three-year-old boy.

Speaking during a visit to Portugal, Cameron said the extra refugees would come from UN camps bordering Syria, and not from among people already in Europe, according to British media.

He said more details would be set out next week following talks with organisations working in the region.

The prime minister has previously said accepting more people was not the simple answer to the situation. He said on Thursday he had felt "deeply moved" by the image of the dead boy and Britain would accept its "moral obligations".

Many political figures, including Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, London Mayor Boris Johnson, former Labor Home Secretary David Blunkett, urged Cameron to accept more refugees.

More than 300,000 people have so far signed an online petition urging the British government to act, according to Sky news.

Britain has accepted 216 Syrian refugees under a scheme to relocate the most vulnerable begun in January 2014. But the European Commission wants to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Hungary, Italy and Greece across the European Union with biding quotas, the Times newspaper said.