UK adds £1m to Syria refugees fund

 

Britain will give another £1 million to help 10,000 Syrian refugees through the cold winter, Nick Clegg said today.

The Deputy Prime Minister pledged the cash during a visit to the Turkish Red Crescent, which is helping victims forced to flee the civil war as Syrian president Bashar Assad continues his brutal crackdown on rebel fighters.

Mr Clegg's announcement came as up to 30 people were killed and scores hurt in four suicide bombings in the main square of the Syrian city of Aleppo.

The new money takes the UK's total funding to deal with the unfolding refugee crisis to £18 million.

Mr Clegg, who is on a two-day trade mission to Turkey, said: "It's clear that the scale of the challenge is huge, with over 93,000 registered refugees in the camps along the Syrian-Turkish border and more crossing every day.

"That's why we're announcing this additional funding for the Turkish Red Crescent, working alongside the Turkish government, the United Nations and the wider humanitarian community, to meet the critical needs of refugees this winter."

The money is likely to be spent on blankets, heaters and warm clothing, as well as fuel and cookers to heat food, and shelter to protect against the freezing weather.

Mr Clegg added: "Refugees from Syria face what is likely to be a bitterly cold winter.

"The supplies this extra funding will deliver will go some way to helping them through this difficult time.

"The Turkish government has shown real leadership and generosity in accommodating the large number of Syrians seeking refuge in their country, while ordinary people have opened their doors and provided help to complete strangers."

Red Crescent general director Omer Tashli said: "We are delighted that the British Government has agreed to make a donation of £1 million to the Turkish Red Crescent, the institution that provides humanitarian assistance to thousands of Syrian citizens who are currently being protected by Turkey.

"This assistance will be used to ensure Syrian citizens who are being housed in camps around the border have access to sufficient humanitarian supplies such as blankets and other equipment to help them cope with the winter."

The British Red Cross's disaster response manager, Barry Armstrong, said: "Many people have fled the fighting and have not been able to bring basic winter clothing or blankets with them.

"Turkish winters are desperately cold at night and thousands of people are living in tents without adequate protection against the winter weather.

"Already there are over 93,000 refugees registered in Turkey, and more and more people continue to cross the border to safety.

"The Turkish Red Crescent has been providing much-needed aid, including shelter and food, but we need to step this up."

PA

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