Britain will take thousands of more refugees from camps on the borders of war-torn Syria, as well as providing an additional £100m (€136m) in aid for those fleeing the conflict, prime minister David Cameron has announced.
Downing Street declined to put a precise figure on the number of Syrians who will be admitted to the country, saying details of the scheme were being finalised and will be announced next week.
Speaking during visits to Portugal and Spain, Mr Cameron said that Britain had a “moral responsibility” to help refugees.
However, there was no indication that Britain would be willing to resettle any of the hundreds of thousands of desperate people who have made perilous Mediterranean crossings by boat to reach Europe over the past few months.
Refugees hold hands as they leave Budapest, Hungary, on foot for Austria. Over 150,000 people seeking to enter Europe have reached Hungary this year
The £100m funding pledge for refugee camps on Syria’s borders brings the total contribution from the UK to more than £1bn, making it Britain’s largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis, said Cameron.
During his visit to Lisbon, Cameron said Britain had already offered asylum to around 5,000 Syrians in recent years and had introduced a resettlement scheme for residents in refugee camps deemed to be particularly at risk.
Cameron said details of the scheme would be announced next week, after discussions with NGOs and other partners, and Britain would act with “our head and our heart”.
Speaking later in Madrid, he said that admitting refugees “can only ever be part of the answer” to the migration crisis and that a comprehensive approach was needed, including using aid to alleviate suffering in the countries which migrants come from.
“We are already the second-largest bilateral donor of aid to the Syrian conflict, and today I can announce that we will provide a further £100m, taking our total contribution to over £1bn,” said Cameron.
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