David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom, say his country will house at least 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.
Speaking to parliament on Monday, Cameron said the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPR) would be expanded to resettle more people from Syria, Turkey and Jordanian camps.
“We are proposing that Britain should resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the rest of this parliament,” he said.
“In doing, so we will continue to show the world that this country is a country of extra compassion, always standing up for our values and helping those in need.
“Britain will play its part alongside our other European partners but because we’re not part of the EU’s borderless Schengen agreement or its relocation initiative, Britain is able to decide its own approach.
“We will continue with our approach of taking refugees from the camps and elsewhere in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. This provides refugees with a more direct and safe route to the UK rather than risking the hazardous journey to European which has tragically cost so many lives.”
Labour leader Harriet Harman said the government was doing the “right thing” but there was an urgent need for action now and questioned whether there was scope to accept more than 4,000 refugees this year.
According to BBC, the prime minister said the UK had a “moral responsibility” to resettle refugees living in camps bordering Syria while also doing all it can to end the conflict in the country.
Vulnerable children and orphans would be prioritised in what would be a “national effort” to arrest the immigration crisis.
Cameron, who told MPs that the suffering of the Syrian people and others trying to make it to Europe in recent weeks was “heart-breaking”, said the international aid budget will be used to help councils house them.
France earlier announced its intention to take in 24,000 refugees over the next two years.