Saudi aid convoy for Syrian refugees leaves Riyadh

August 2, 2012 19:47

RIYADH - A convoy of trucks left Riyadh for Syrian refugee camps in Jordan on Thursday evening carrying the first batch of aid from a 10-day national appeal that has so far raised $125 million.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and birthplace of Islam, has led Arab diplomatic efforts to isolate the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad over his suppression of a 16-month-old rebellion against his rule.

The predominantly Sunni Muslim kingdom has accused Assad of targeting civilians, but is also mindful that his government is the closest Middle East ally of Saudi Arabia's big regional rival, Shi'ite Iran.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal previously has backed the idea of arming rebel forces and last week Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey had established a base in southern Turkey to aid Syria's opposition.

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