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Swiss approve extra funds for Syria

A Syrian family at a temporary refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese town of Marj near the Syrian border on May 20 Keystone

Switzerland has earmarked an extra CHF20 million ($21 million) for the victims of the Syrian crisis, it was announced on Friday. This follows the CHF30 million it has already donated since the beginning of the conflict.

This content was published on June 7, 2013 - 16:58
swissinfo.ch and agencies

The additional funding will in part be used to support United Nations partners and the Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which reach many affected people throughout Syria and the region, according to a statement.

Also benefitting are projects carried out by Swiss Humanitarian Aid supporting families and communities in northern Lebanon which have taken in Syrian refugees. The scheme has received more than CHF3.9 million and helped 1,800 host families and around 15,000 refugees from Syria. Swiss experts will also be assisting UN agencies.

“There is no end in sight to the violence in Syria and the humanitarian situation is unlikely to improve in the near future,” the foreign ministry statement said.

On Friday, the UN in Geneva increased their 2013 humanitarian appeal for Syria to $4.4 billion (CHF4.1 billion), in what has been described as its biggest humanitarian appeal ever.

"We expect that we might reach 3.5 million refugees by the end of the year," UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres told a news conference in Geneva.

“Explosion”

Around 1.6 million people have already fled the country. Another 7,000 refugees are crossing the border each day, he said.

"If the fighting doesn't stop, we risk an explosion in the Middle East for which the international community is simply not prepared," Guterres said, noting that Lebanon and Jordan in particular have borne the financial brunt of hosting about 500,000 Syrian refugees each.

The Swiss statement noted that 80,000 people had died in the two-year conflict and that 6.8 million people were dependent on humanitarian aid.

It added that this form of aid was one of the three pillars of Switzerland’s policy towards the Syrian conflict. The others are supporting efforts towards a political settlement and fighting against impunity.

On Monday, the Swiss foreign ministry said it was “extremely concerned” about the situation in Syria, particularly the intense fighting in the city of Qusair, and urged all parties to the conflict to end the violence.

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