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Britain gives $160 million to Syria aid

26 september 2013, 16:57
Britain on Wednesday gave an extra $160 million to help Syrian refugees as the European Union urged the UN Security Council to do more to ensure humanitarian access, AFP reports.

The cash boost was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the UN General Assembly and takes Britain's total aid to Syria relief operations to more than 500 million pounds ($800 million).

The United Nations says more than two million Syrians have fled to surrounding countries and about six million are displaced inside the country which has been at war for two and a half years.

Speaking at a meeting called by the European Union and Jordan on the Syrian humanitarian crisis, Clegg said he was pushing other countries to increase contributions to breach a multi-billion dollar shortfall for the United Nations' aid operation.

"The scale of what is unfolding in Syria is almost beyond comprehension and is certainly on a scale of humanitarian suffering that the world had not had to confront in a long period of time," Clegg told reporters.

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday, announced another $340 million in humanitarian aid for Syrians, bringing the US contribution to $1.3 billion.

EU aid chief Kristalina Georgieva warned that the only ultimate way to address the needs was to work to end the war, which the UN says has killed more than 100,000 people.

Georgieva said the conflict has become "madness for Syria and for the region."

The European Union and United States remain at loggerheads with Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main ally, on a Security Council resolution to accompany an agreement on chemical weapons.

A US-Russian agreement for Assad to give up his stockpile halted US calls for a military strike, but aid advocates warn that Syria's troubles extend far beyond the chemical weapons crisis.

"We are not giving up on the Security Council at some point coming up with a binding resolution on humanitarian access. When this would take place, we shall see," Georgieva said.

"But this is the first crisis in modern times when the Security Council has not stated two simple things -- don't kill civilians, don't hurt the people who are there to help them," she said.

US President Barack Obama, addressing the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, announced another $340 million in humanitarian aid for Syrians, bringing the US contribution to $1.3 billion.

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