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Syrian peace talks break down; world pledges help

People walk past damaged buildings in Aleppo's al-Shaar district. REUTERS/Mahmoud Hebbo

Nations around the world have pledged money towards helping Syrian refugees as the prospects for ending the war in Syria look bleaker than ever.

Syrian peace talks break down; world pledges help

The UN says there are more than 4.5 million Syrian refugees that have fled the country while close to seven million are thought to have been displaced within Syria.

Inside Syria, the situation is deteriorating rapidly. According to the United Nations there is great concern about the “extremely dire” humanitarian situation in Madaya and other besieged areas, and distressing reports of people starving to death.

It estimates there may be up to 400,000 vulnerable people including children and the elderly who need help.

A boy inspects damage after airstrikes by pro-Syrian government forces in the rebel held Al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

A boy inspects damage after airstrikes by pro-Syrian government forces in the rebel held Al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

The world is refusing to stand by – a meeting of 60 nations in London last week saw more than US $10 billion to help Syrians affected by the five-year conflict.

The UK pledged an extra $1.7bn until 2020, Germany committed to $2.6bn until 2018, France said it would give $1bn and the US an extra $925m for 2016. Australia, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Japan, the UAE, Austria, Switzerland, Estonia, Denmark and Finland, along with the World Bank and the European Investment Bank, also committed funds.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the money would provide millions in Syria with “life-saving” food, medical care and shelter. More jobs and schooling would be provided for refugees in neighbouring countries, he said. More than one million Syrian children are not in school. 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the gathering of the countries a “great success”.

“Never has the international community raised so much money on a single day for a single crisis,” he said.

Meanwhile tens of thousands of people in Syria are reported to be fleeing intense fighting near Aleppo. According to the BBC Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said up to 70,000 Syrians were heading towards its borders amid a Syrian government offensive, backed by Russian air strikes.

The offensive saw the suspension of UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva.

Girls who survived what activists said was a ground-to-ground missile attack by forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, hold hands at Aleppo's Bab al-Hadeed district. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

Girls who survived what activists said was a ground-to-ground missile attack by forces of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, hold hands at Aleppo’s Bab al-Hadeed district. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

 

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