The first victim identified from the Grenfell Tower disaster was a Syrian refugee who fled the war "only to die in a tower block in London".

Mohammed Al Haj Ali, 23, a civil engineering student at West London University, is one of the 17 people so far confirmed to have died in the fire in Kensington.

Investigations are underway to determine how the blaze started, with the number of fatalities expected to rise.

Ali was inside the building with his 25-year-old brother Omar, who is recovering in hospital.

After getting trapped on the 14th floor, he was reported to have sent messages to his family, including one reading: "the fire is here, goodbye".

Abdulaziz Almashi, a friend of the family and co-founder of the UK-based Syrian Solidarity Campaign, told the Telegraph: "He survived Assad, the war in Syria, only to die in a tower block in London. There are no words."

A statement on Facebook from the Syrian Solidarity Campaign added: "RIP Mohammed Al Haj Ali. A Syrian refugee in the UK, Mohammed passed away in the Grenfell tower fire yesterday. We are heartbroken for his family, who thought he had found safety in the UK. To Allah we belong and to him we shall return."

Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a full public inquiry into the "terrible tragedy" that occurred at Grenfell Tower.

Giving an update on the blaze, London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: "Sadly we are not expecting to find any more survivors and the operation is now one of recovery rather than rescue.

"We realise that a lot of people are still incredibly concerned about their loved ones who are still unaccounted for and our priority is to do the best for those waiting for news of their relatives and friends.

"I want to be realistic, we are likely to have crews working at the scene for many days to come. We do not yet know what caused the fire. We do not know where it started and we do not know why it spread in the way that it did. Investigations have started but it is too soon to say any more.

"This was a tragic and unprecedented fire and our thoughts remain with all those affected by it. As I have stated many times, I have never experienced anything like this in my career. However, I have taken enormous strength from the amazing response from all my staff and the response of the other emergency services who continue to be involved in the response to the incident."

Mohammed Al Haj Ali
Mohammed Al Haj Ali is one the the 17 people to have died in the fire at Grenfell Tower Facebook/Syrian Solidarity Campaign