Britain will provide asylum for “thousands more” refugees from the camps near war-torn Syria, David Cameron has announced, bowing to political and public pressure.

The Prime Minister said the country had to respond with “our head and our heart”, pointing out how it had already accepted nearly 5000 asylum seekers from Syria in the last four years and was the second largest humanitarian donor to Syrian refugees, contributing £900 million.

A House of Commons statement on the details of the UK Government’s proposals is expected early next week; No 10 declined to comment on a suggestion from the United Nations Refugee Agency that the UK would take in a further 4000 Syrian refugees.

But Nicola Sturgeon denounced the Conservative administration for “struggling to show leadership” in the midst of the worst humanitarian catastrophe since World War Two and stressed how Scotland should accept 1000 refugees as a "starting point" for further help.

Natalie Bennett for the Green Party went further and said if Mr Cameron was serious about Europe’s refugee crisis, he should make provision for the UK to take in 240,000 asylum seekers.

At Westminster, Labour called on the SNP to take a united approach. Ian Murray, the Shadow Scottish Secretary, urged the Nationalist leadership to use its Opposition Day debate in the Commons next Wednesday to discuss the refugee crisis, pointing out how it would be the only opportunity MPs had, in the short two-week window before the party conference season starts, to debate and vote on  the issue.

The political responses came as the child who pricked the world’s conscience was laid to rest.

Pictures emerged of the funeral of Aylan Kurdi - the three-year-old Syrian boy whose dead body was washed ashore on a Turkish beach earlier this week - in the border town of Kobane.

Abdullah Kurdi wept as the body of his son was buried alongside Aylan’s brother Ghalib and their mother Rehan, who also drowned when their dinghy capsized as they tried to reach the Greek island of Kos .

The grieving father said he hoped the death of his family would encourage Arab states to help Syrian refugees.

“I want from Arab governments - not European countries - to see what happened to my children and, because of them, to help people.”

Just 48 hours after Mr Cameron insisted the answer to the current crisis was not to take in more and more refugees but to bring peace and stability to Syria, political and public pressure forced a change of heart.

The PM stressed how Britain was already "providing sanctuary" to around 5000 refugees from the border camps and had provided around £900m in aid; more than any other European country.

Accepting Britain had a "moral responsibility" to help refugees, he said while on a visit to Portugal: “Given the scale of the crisis and the suffering of people, today I can announce that we will do more, providing resettlement for thousands more Syrian refugees.

“We will continue with our approach of taking them from the refugee camps. This provides them with a more direct and safe route to the United Kingdom, rather than risking the hazardous journey which has tragically cost so many their lives."

Mr Cameron said details of the scheme would be announced next week, after discussions with NGOs and other partners, and Britain would act with "our head and our heart".

The PM made clear no European country had done more than Britain on providing humanitarian aid. “Were it not for that massive aid, the numbers making the perilous journey to Europe today would be even higher," he declared

Mr Cameron added: "Britain will continue to work with partners to tackle the conflict in Syria, to provide support to the region, to go after the smuggling gangs exploiting these people and we will continue to save lives at sea."

The First Minister welcomed the PM’s statement of taking in thousands more refugees but also criticised the UK Government for "struggling to show leadership in this refugee crisis", which was the worst  humanitarian disaster since the Second World War.

Ms Sturgeon admitted she had been reduced to tears by the pictures of Aylan's body being washed on a Turkish beach.

She said such images would "haunt our consciences and reputation for many generations to come if we don't together and collectively act to help those in desperate need".

While the FM accepted a long-term solution to problems in Syria must be found, she argued: "We cannot and we must not leave our fellow human beings to perish in the meantime."

Ms Sturgeon added: "We here in Scotland and across the UK can do more and we must do more."

Other developments include:

*Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, said it was now  time to consider the Turkish idea of setting up a safe haven on the Syrian border, which, he accepted “might” involve international, including British, boots on the ground;

*Pop singer and campaigner Bob Geldof has joined others, opening his homes in Kent and London to four refugee families;

*David Blunkett, the ex-Labour Home Secretary said the UK should take in 25,000 refugees during the next six months while the Mayor of Bristol urged locals to use their spare rooms to help;

*A petition calling on the UK to accept more refugees topped more than 300,000, three times the number needed to spark a possible debate at Westminster;

*Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, insisted "more must be done" to ease the European migration crisis and the UK needed to “reach out”;

*Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader accused the PM of creating a "diversion strategy" as taking more refugees from Syria's borders will not help anyone fleeing the war-torn country or putting their lives in danger in Europe and

*Frances Fitzgerald, Ireland’s justice minister, announced that her country would accept at least 1800 refugees, an increase from the 600 originally proposed by Dublin.

Elsewhere, Antonio Guterres, the UN's refugee chief called on Europe to mobilise its "full force" in tackling its migrant crisis, saying it was not a "defining moment" for the continent and warned a divided EU would benefit only smugglers and people traffickers.

Yet in Hungary, Viktor Orban, who leads the country’s right-wing government, said: "The reality is that Europe is threatened by a mass inflow of people, many tens of millions of people could come to Europe.

"Now we talk about hundreds of thousands but next year we will talk about millions and there is no end to this.

“All of a sudden we will see that we are in a minority in our own continent," declared the Prime Minister.

Mr Orban's government has criticised Germany’s open-door policy, effectively granting any Syrian refugee asylum; it is expected to take in some 800,000 this year.

Budapest insists this is simply encouraging the flight. It is now erecting a fence and tightening migration rules; it says it will close Hungary off to all migrants from September 15.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 140,000 refugees have been registered entering Hungary,

Meantime, the stand-off for a second day continued between riot police and hundreds of migrants, including Syrian refugees, stranded on a train at Bicske, some 15 miles west of the Hungarian capital.

“We don’t know what’s going on,” said Ahmed Mahmoud, 60, who said he was a former Iraqi military officer who had lost both legs and was trying to join his daughter in Belgium.

“The police told us, get fingerprinted or face jail time. So we gave our fingerprints and they told us we can go. But we can’t go to the West. I just want to see my child in Belgium,” he added.