February 8, 2013 - 15:42 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Turkish Prime Minister has said Turkey has already spent more than $600 million in taking care of Syrian refugees that have taken shelter in the country, vowing that Ankara's “open-door” policy will continue, according to Today's Zaman.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speaking to a group of journalists on a plane en route to Ankara from Bratislava, also said aid to the Syrian opposition is increasingly growing and wealthy Gulf nations are taking the lead in assisting the opposition.
Donor countries pledged more than $1.5 billion to aid Syrians stricken by civil war last month in Doha. About $1 billion is earmarked for Syria's neighbors hosting refugees and $500 million for humanitarian aid to Syrians displaced inside the country.
The $500 million would be channeled through UN partner agencies in Syria and the entire aid pledge would cover the next six months.
The oil-rich Gulf Arab states of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates each promised $300 million at the meeting. Its 60 participants included Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Tunisia, the United States, Canada, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and a number of European countries.
Four million Syrians inside the country need food, shelter and other aid in the midst of a freezing winter, and more than 700,000 more are estimated to have fled to countries nearby.
Erdoğan reiterated his position on the future of Assad and said Syria's embattled president is bound to leave. “He is not there to stay,” he said.