Riyadh, Dec 27: Saudi Arabia launched on Monday a kingdom-wide fundraising campaign for people displaced by the civil war in Syria, including those evacuated from eastern Aleppo.
More than 11 million Syrians — around half of the population — have been displaced by the fighting, which began in 2011 and has killed more than 300,000 people.
Thousands of Syrian fighters and civilians have been evacuated from eastern Aleppo in a week-long operation this month after government forces backed by Russia and Iran closed in on their stronghold. Many of them are staying in temporary shelters in freezing temperatures.
A Royal Court statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman ordered a relief campaign to be started today and had allocated 100 million riyals ($27 million) to 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,” SPA said.
The King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Works (KSRelief) will coordinate with pertinent authorities the provision of aid items, such as foodstuff, drugs and shelters and will receive the injured for treatment, furnish camps and help delivery of complete wintertime aid packages, SPA said.
King Salman donated SR20 million for the campaign, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif donated SR10 million, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman donated SR8 million.
Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest donors to United Nations relief campaigns for Syria, including at fundraising meetings in Kuwait and elsewhere. The Kingdom has also a continuing relief aid program for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and even inside Syria.