Swiss to help finance Syrian field hospital

Switzerland has pledged financial support to an independent network of doctors in Syria who are trying to create a field hospital in the conflict-torn nation, an official said Saturday.

Georg Farago, a spokesman for Switzerland's foreign ministry, said Switzerland would contribute 55,000 francs ($57,000) and is willing to support other efforts that "aim to lessen the suffering of

"The goal is to create a hospital in a part of Syria where the needs are not covered by state infrastructure," Farago said.

In an interview published on Saturday in the Swiss newspaper La Liberté, Tawfik Chamaa, a doctor and founding member of the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organisations, said the Swiss cash would help set up a care centre in a "combat zone that has until now been neglected".

For security reasons, he did not say where the facility would be located.

It will be staffed around the clock, have eight beds and a capacity to treat 30 patients, as well as an operating area.

Chamaa said he hoped eventually to set up another 25 clinics and the facilities would be protected by the Free Syrian Army.

Since the start of the revolt against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in March last year, about 25,000 people have been killed, according to a monitoring group.

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