Middle East

Saudi campaign raises $32.5 mln for Syrians

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia collected nearly $32.5 million on the first day of a fundraising campaign to support people in Syria, where an uprising has left thousands dead, according to official figures on Tuesday.

"The total cash donations collected by the national Saudi campaign in support of the brothers in Syria reached 121,771,811 riyals ($32.5 million) on the first day (Monday)," official news agency SPA

King Abdullah launched the campaign by donating 20 million riyals ($5.3 million), said SPA.

Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who is also deputy prime minister and defense minister, followed by donating 10 million riyals ($2.6 million), SPA reported.

The campaign, which will last five days, also collected food, medical equipment, clothes, tents, blankets, and jewellery.

More than 19,000 people have been killed across Syria since an uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime erupted in March 2011.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and the other energy-rich Sunni nations of the Gulf have repeatedly voiced support for Syrian rebels against the regime of Assad, a member of the Alawite community, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.





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