He Escaped Syria, Only to Die in London Fire

Firefighters have said they expect the number of fatalities to rise and that they do not expect to find anymore survivors in the 1970s building.

Co-founder of the Syria Solidarity Campaign Abdulaziz Almashi confirmed the news, saying he had met Mr Alhajali whilst working for the organisation which promotes freedom, peace and democracy in Syria.

Mohammed al-Haj Ali, a 23-year-old civil engineering student at West London University, was separated from his brother Omar on the stairs as they tried to escape the inferno engulfing the Grenfell tower block.

"Mohammed was on the phone for two hours with a friend in Syria, waiting to be rescued", said a statement from the charity.

Mohammed Alhajali, who is reported to be 23, came to the United Kingdom in 2014 and was studying civil engineering whilst living in North Kensington.

Tributes have been paid to a "kind and charitable" refugee who was named as one of the first victims of the devastating Grenfell Tower blaze.

"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family and friends".

He made frantic calls to friends and relatives back in Syria, including a message that said: "The fire is here now, goodbye". "To Allah we belong and to him we shall return".

The report said the brother, Omar, was being treated at King's College Hospital and his condition was improving.

At least 17 people have died in the massive fire which ravaged London's skyline, but the Metropolitan Police said the death toll is expected to increase yet further.

About 600 people were believed to have been inside the tower's 120 flats, many of them asleep, when the blaze ripped through the building.

Whether he was part of the 20,000 Syrians that are projected to be given United Kingdom citizenship over five years as the government wants or not is unclear. Commander Stuart Cundy said 17 people are now in critical condition and police are seeking to identify and locate the people who continue to be missing.

  • Sheila Mcguire