Syrian refugee studying engineering named as one of first Grenfell fire victims


The first victim of the Grenfell Tower inferno has been named as Syrian refugee Mohammad al-Haj Ali, as the grieving friends he made in the United Kingdom have lamented the country "failed him" after he "came here for a better life".

The brothers along with their family had fled Daraa in southern Syria - the cradle of the revolution against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad - three years ago and were granted asylum in the UK.

Mr Alhajali came to Britain with his brother in 2014 and was a civil engineering student at West London University, the Syria Solidarity Campaign said.

Omar reached safety, however, for reasons unknown, Mohammed returned to his 14th floor flat to await rescue by firefighters and while there he spoke to his family in #Syria by phone.

After being overwhelmed by smoke, Mohammad was forced to return to the apartment, where he called family and friends to say goodbye, Hourani said.

The Syrian Solidarity Campaign expressed their grief at the news, writing on its Facebook page: "RIP Mohammed Al Haj Ali".

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.

"We are heartbroken for his family, who thought he had found safety in the United Kingdom", read the post. Both were set to come to our Iftar this Saturday.

His brother Omar Alhajali was also caught up in the blaze but was found in hospital in a stable condition.

Mirna Suleiman, a friend of the victim, also voiced her sadness on Facebook, saying: "This lovely soul was lost long as many others".

"It's just really sad, he left Syria running away from death and looking for a better life", said Hourani.

She added: "We in the United Kingdom are not prepared for major incidents".

"We need to know what happened. We're good at putting loads of rules and regulations and making people pay service charge and housing tax but we're not good at being practical and planning for the worst", the friend wrote.

At least 17 people died in the fire which started early on Wednesday.