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Saudi King Launches Syrian Fundraising Drive, Donates $5.33 Mln.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Monday launched a fundraising campaign for Syrians caught in the conflict in the Middle East country by donating SR20 million ($5.33 million) to the fund. Crown Prince Salman, who is also Deputy Premier and Defense Minister, contributed SR10 million.

Saudi philanthropists and businessmen in different parts of the oil-rich Kingdom donated to the fund in cash and kind, in support of the Syrian people facing oppression from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Arab media reported.

Saudi Arabia has been providing relief aid for Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, and last month Saudi businessmen sent a convoy of food supplies for Syrians living in Jordan. The 13-truck convoy carried 312 tons of supplies including 10,000 food packets and was distributed by members of the Saudi and Jordanian Red Crescent societies to the refugees.

The Saudi Red Crescent in association with the International Islamic Relief Organization Saudi Arabia (IIROSA) is providing housing, medical and food assistance to the Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, President of Saudi Red Crescent Authority, met with his counterparts from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon to discuss the distribution of supplies among Syrian refugees in their countries.

Nearly half a million Syrian refugees who fled their homeland to escape violence have been accommodated in refugee camps set up in neighboring countries of Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Thousands are being displaced every day because of fierce fightings between Assad's security forces and the Opposition Free Syrian Army, constituted mainly with Army deserters. According to the U.N., more than 10,000 people have been killed in Syria since a popular uprising against Assad broke out 16 months ago. But activists put the death toll at more than 17,000.

Meanwhile, The Arab League welcomed King Abdullah's call for an emergency Islamic summit in Mecca next month. "This is a valuable opportunity to achieve cohesion and Islamic solidarity in the current extraordinary situation," said a League statement issued at the end of a two-day emergency session on Syria that concluded in the Qatari capital Doha on Monday.

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