Switzerland is to stump up extra funds to support people affected by the civil war in Syria, whether they have stayed at home or taken refuge in a neighbouring country.
Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann announced at an international Syria donor conference in London on Thursday that Switzerland would support victims of the conflict with CHF50 million ($50.1 million). The money will be donated this year and will be split between direct aid to Syria and refugees in surrounding countries.
Schneider-Ammann made the pledge as around 30 heads of state and government met to discuss financial aid for Syria. Numerous countries committed to help reach the target of $9 billion (CHF8.9 billion), including Germany, the UK, France and the US. The London conference took place as peace talks in Geneva were suspended and fighting on the ground continued.
Schneider-Ammann commented that the international community has a duty to support nations surrounding Syria. They have taken in the majority of refugees fleeing violence and war in their home country.
"Syria is the greatest humanitarian challenge of the present day. The citizens of Syria's neighbouring states deserve our thanks and our respect," he said.
Switzerland has already given CHF250 million to try and help the situation. Long-term prospects for those affected by the conflict are a major concern for the Swiss, a statement from the economics ministry said. Some of the money will be invested in education projects. The statement highlighted Switzerland’s efforts to improve working conditions for humanitarian staff through its “humanitarian diplomacy efforts”.
swissinfo.ch and agencies