23 Mar 2013

Obama pledges extra $200m to help Syrian refugees

3:17 pm on 23 March 2013

US President Barack Obama has pledged to Jordan an additional $200 million to help deal with the growing number of Syrian refugees in the country.

Mr Obama was speaking from Jordan, where he's praised the country's generosity in taking in Syrian refugees.

He promised to ask Congress for another $200 million in humanitarian support.

Mr Obama said this would help improve basic services at refugee camps along the Jordan-Syria border.

The US is already the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees.

The BBC reports this was an important final stop off for Mr Obama recognising what he called an invaluable ally, but it was also a chance to hear first hand how the war in Syria has spilled into neighbouring Jordan.

King Abdullah told him that the arrival of 460,000 refugees was a heavy burden and predicted numbers would double by the end of the year.

The number of Syrians who have fled the country to escape the conflict between the government and rebel forces reached one million earlier this month, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees.

The UN says half of those leaving Syria are children, most of them under 11 and often traumatised by their experiences.

Along with Jordan, the many Syrians are seeking shelter in Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.