AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Canada's foreign minister pledged $6.5 million in additional aid to Jordan in its efforts to help displaced Syrians after seeing a refugee tent city and calling the worsening situation in neighboring Syria "tremendously horrifying."
John Baird praised Jordan, calling it an "incredible example to the world" on the frontlines of the Syrian crisis, saying that the country "should not stand alone."
"Jordan is committed to helping the Syrian people at their greatest hour of need and Canada is proud to support you as you welcome tens of thousands of Syrian refugees across your borders," Baird said at a joint press conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Nasser Judeh in the capital Amman, where he made the aid announcement.
Jordan hosts 150,000 displaced Syrians, more than any other country. Fighting in Syria's largest city Aleppo and other recent clashes is sending ever larger numbers of Syrians to neighboring countries.
Both foreign ministers said they were deeply affected seeing the Syrian refugee children at the newly-opened Zaatari desert camp earlier in the day, where more than 5,074 Syrians are housed.
"It is tremendously important for the world to see the victims of Assad's repression and to see the conditions in those camps and be inspired to do more," Baird said.
"We both left with heavy hearts," Judeh added. It's hard to see children in their prime uprooted from their natural homes and environment and be in a refugee camp."
Baird said that as difficult as life can be in a refugee camp, "I can't imagine how horrifying it is to flee your home and risk life and limb for you and your family to escape this regime."
He added that Canada has harshly condemned the military onslaught by Syria on its citizens and has imposed the toughest of sanctions. It also has provided non-lethal support to the opposition, mainly by aiding the Syrian National Council opposition group.
Saturday's aid pledge comes on top of $8.5 million Baird said Canada is already providing to the international humanitarian response to violence in Syria.
Both Baird and his counterpart said a political solution is the way out of the crisis.
Referring to the highest-ranking Syrian to enter Jordan, Judeh confirmed that defecting prime minister Riyad Hijab is still in the country.
"I am not in charge of Mr. Hijab's itinerary. He is in safe hands. He is in Jordan enjoying the safety and security of the country," Judeh told reporters, providing no other details.
Turning to the camp, he said Jordan has appealed for international funds to replace U.N. refugee agency tents with trailers in an effort to help refugees cope better with constant dust-laden winds and extreme weather at the desert camp. Continued...