London fire: Syrian victim Mohammed Alhajali family ‘can come to UK’ – BBC News

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Media captionVictim’s brother recounts final call: “He said: ‘Why did you leave me?’.”

Arrangements will be made for the family of one of those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire to travel from Syria to the UK for his funeral, the Home Office has said.

Mohammed Alhajali, who was 23, was the first victim to be named.

The Syrian refugee came to the UK in 2014 and studied civil engineering.

A total of 58 people are known to be dead or missing, presumed dead, after the fire. The BBC understands this could rise to about 70 people in total.

Mr Alhajali’s older brother Omar – who was with him in their flat on the 14th floor – survived after they were separated on the way out of the burning tower block.

A friend of Mr Alhajali, Randa El-Daouk, told the Andrew Marr programme that her friend was “loved by all of us”.

A petition for his parents to be allowed to come to the UK has more than 80,000 signatures.

The petition was set up by family friend Mirna Suleiman, 26, who had been ringing around numerous hospitals, rest centres and the casualty helpline searching for Mr Alhajali, before discovering that he had died.

“My mum told me and I just burst in to tears. Even though I didn’t know him it was so difficult to bear the news,” she said.

Ms Suleiman said she started the campaign because, as someone with Syrian family herself, she knew how difficult it was to obtain a visa for visits.

The proportion of visa applications for visits to the UK from Syria that are rejected has risen since the country’s civil war began in 2011.

But the Home Office has suggested Mr Alhajali’s family will be able to come to the UK on compassionate grounds.

“Mohammed undertook a dangerous journey to flee war and death in Syria, only to meet it here in the UK, in his own home,” the Syrian Solidarity Campaign said in a statement.

“His dream was to be able to go back home one day and rebuild Syria.”

Image copyright Getty/AFP

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We have established processes in place which allow us to consider visa applications outside the immigration rules on compassionate grounds.

“We are in contact with Mr Alhajali’s family and will offer any assistance we can to help them obtain the necessary travel documents they will require in these terribly sad circumstances.”

Ms Suleiman said she was happy with the outcome, but added: “It shouldn’t reach a point where people are dying [before] we can allow families to be reunited with one another.”

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