Baku, September 5, AZERTAC
David Cameron has bowed to overwhelming domestic and international pressure and announced that Britain will accept thousands more Syrian refugees.
Downing Street declined to put an exact figure on the numbers of refugees who will be flown to Britain from refugee camps in countries bordering Syria.
The prime minister said Britain would act with "our head and our heart" in response to the "crisis and suffering" of the refugees.
The announcement, made in Lisbon after Cameron held talks with his Portuguese counterpart, Pedro Passos Coelho, followed a steady buildup of pressure from politicians, churches, council leaders and community groups, urging the government to show greater humanity.
The prime minister was expected to give further details of his plans on Friday at a press conference in Madrid with the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy. It is likely to involve an expansion of the Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme, which has admitted a small number of refugees from camps in countries neighbouring Syria. Refugees can only qualify under this scheme if they have been the victim of torture or sexual violence or are too elderly or disabled to survive in the camps.
There was confusion after the UN refugee agency suggested that Britain would be taking an extra 4,000 refugees, then later clarified that they had received no such confirmation.
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