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Syrian Refugee Is Among Victims of London Fire

“When the fire reached his flat on the 14th floor,” the statement added, “Mohammed bid his friend goodbye, saying that the fire had reached him. He asked his friend to pass on the message to his family.”

Friends say Mr. Alhajali had planned to return to Syria when the war was over, and was studying civil engineering at the University of West London.

Abdulaziz Almashi, who said he met Mr. Alhajali at a Syria Solidarity Campaign event, described him as “so lovely” and recalled how they became fast friends.

“He escaped, he crossed the sea to Greece,” Mr. Almashi said, describing the perilous journey in a small boat. After reaching Europe, Mr. Alhajali sought asylum in Britain.

“He wanted to go back when the war was over to rebuild the country,” Mr. Almashi said. “It’s a big loss for me, for our friends and for Syria.”

Another of Mr. Alhajali’s brothers was also living in Britain, but he had not seen most of his family for several years, as they are still in Syria.

“The hardest thing for me to think last night was, who is going to tell his mum, who is going to tell his father?” Mr. Almashi said.

A day after the fire, little was known about most of the victims, and many residents remained unaccounted for. By Thursday afternoon, the police had confirmed 17 fatalities, but had only recovered six bodies from the building’s charred remains.

Source: NYT > World

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