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Saudi king orders national fundraising campaign for Syria

Saudi Arabia launched a nation-wide aid campaign to help those evacuated from eastern Aleppo [AFP]

Date of publication: 27 December, 2016

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Riyadh launches a fundraising campaign for Syrians displaced by the war - including those evacuated from eastern Aleppo last week - state news agency SPA reported on Monday.
Saudi Arabia has launched a nation-wide aid campaign to help raise funds for displaced Syrians, including those evacuated from eastern Aleppo last week, local media reported on Monday.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered a fundraising campaign to begin on Tuesday, adding that the kingdom has allocated 100 million riyals [$27 million] for the drive.

"The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, has ordered a popular campaign to be launched ... to provide relief for the brotherly Syrian people," state news agency SPA reported.

The funds will be used to build a camp for displaced Syrians and provide food and aid supplies. It did not specify where the camp will be set up.

The Saudi kingdom has been a key backer of Syrian rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by its regional arch-rival Iran. However, Riyadh has been criticised in the past for not admitting Syrian refugees displaced by the war, a claim Saudi Arabia denies.

Last week, around 30,000 people were evacuated from the one-time opposition stronghold of east Aleppo in a nearly week-long operation.

The five-year conflict in Syria has forced over 11 million people to flee the country.

At least 300,000 people have been killed by the fighting which began in 2011.

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