David Cameron: Britain to Accept Thousands of Syrian Refugees

Britain to Accept Thousands of Syrian Refugees
Photo Courtesy: UPI

LONDON, Sept. 4 (UPI) — Britain will accept “thousands” more refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war in response to the worsening humanitarian crisis, Prime Minister¬†David Cameron said Friday.

Cameron said the additional refugees would come from United Nations camps bordering Syria and not from those already in Europe. He said the move will provide a “more safe and direct route” to sanctuary. Cameron had previously said accepting more refugees was not the answer to the ongoing crisis.

“Britain will act with our head and our heart,” said Cameron, who is currently in Portugal.

Calls for the country to accept more refugees have intensified as crowds in central Europe attempt to board trains for western Europe and the bodies of two Syrian children washed up on a Turkish beach. At the same time, France and Germany have called on the European Union to force member countries to fill quotas of refugees and asylum seekers.

Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, said the French-German position represents a “sharing of duty” and “the principle of solidarity.” Francois Hollande, the French president, said there should be a “permanent and obligatory mechanism” for accepting refugees.

The UN estimates 3,000 migrants a day, many fleeing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, will pour into the Balkans, trying to reach Western Europe in the next few months.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said “urgent and courageous measures” must be taken to stabilize the situation and then a longterm way to share the responsibility must be found.

“Europe has failed to find an effective common response, and people have suffered as a result,” he said in a written statement. “The only ones who benefit from the lack of a common European response are the smugglers and traffickers who are making profit from people’s desperation to reach safety.”

To date, Germany has received more applicants than any other EU nation, with more than 154,000 migrants seeking asylum from January to June, up from 68,000 in the same period last year. Hungary and Sweden are also among the top recipients, when adjusted for population.

More than 300,000 refugees have crossed the Mediterranean Sea so far this year and some 2,600 didn’t survive the crossing, the UN said.

Guterres called for EU members states to admit up to 200,000 migrants into their countries.

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