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  1. ITV Report

Syrian refugee: 'I thought I would die during Calais crossing'

A Syrian refugee has told ITV News she thought she would die during her terrifying journey from her homeland to United Kingdom, via Calais.

Pothina fled the war torn country along with her other members of her family in the hope of what they see as a better life in Europe. Now, she is being helped by a charity in Bradford to settle and begin a new life in the UK.

Pothina told ITV News she thought she would die trying to get to the UK Credit: ITV News

One of eight people, including three men, two other women and two children, smuggled inside a refrigerator a truck for several hours, she told ITV News about the many cold hours the journey took.

There was no light. We were very afraid because the box was closed shut. I thought we would die.

– Pothina, Syrian refugee

5,000 Syrians have already been given asylum in the United Kingdom, while the United Nations refugee agency said at least 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean seeking refuge in Europe this year and next.

The UNHCR - which anticipates 400,000 new arrivals this year alone - called for a more cohesive asylum plan across Europe to tackle the crisis.

A record 7,000 refugees arrived in Macedonia on Monday alone, while 30,000 are currently on Greek islands, with 20,000 of those on Lesbos, where unrest has been rife in the last week.

David Cameron said Britain must look after its own borders Credit: House of Commons

Today David Cameron has said Britain will stick to its "own approach" to redistributing migrants and not the EU's.It comes after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said all member states should share the burden of resettling 160,000.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Cameron said: "If all the focus is on redistributing quotas of refugees around Europe, that won't solve the problem.

"It actually sends a message that it is a good idea to get on a boat and make that perilous journey.

"Britain has its own borders and the ability to make our own sovereign decisions about this.

"We will take 20,000 Syrians but we want a comprehensive approach that puts money into the camps that meets our aid commitments."

Tightly packed people and tents at the refugee camp at Roeszke, Hungary, Credit: Press Association

Meanwhile the charity, Northern Refugee Centre, has launched an appeal to raise £100,000 to help local authorities cope with the influx of refugees.

However, the charity's Chief Executive, Jim Steinke says he accepts that there will be a large number of people who do not want to contribute because they feel the UK should not take more people because they believe the country is already overpopulated.

For Pothina, she says she is grateful to have made it to the UK, far away from the dangers of her homeland:

I'm very happy to be here in the UK. I can't believe that I'm still alive.

– Pothina, Syrian refugee