Middle East

Saudi fundraising campaign for Syrians raises $117m

A Syrian girl carries a bag of bread (31 Jul)
The UN has appealed for $189m to help people inside Syria and $193m for refugees

A Saudi fundraising campaign to support the people in Syria has raised more than $117m (£75m), local media report.

A five-day campaign was launched last week by King Abdullah with a $5.3m (£3.3m) donation, but it was extended after donations continued to pour in.

State media report that people are donating both in cash and in kind, including medical equipment and cars.

More than 122,000 people have fled Syria since March 2011, while a million have been displaced inside the country.

In June, the UN appealed for $189m to help it provide six months of food, medical assistance and support for basic services for those inside Syria, and another $193 for refugees in neighbouring states.

However, earlier this month the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said both appeals were only 20% funded.

The Saudi government has called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down and is believed to be funding and backing the rebel Free Syrian Army.

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