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Calls for 'humanitarian ceasefire' in Syria as EU pledges more aid


brussels bureau

Calls for 'humanitarian ceasefire' in Syria as EU pledges more aid

The European Commission has pledged 147 million euros in aid for people affected by the war in Syria.

It has signed a contract with three United Nations agencies – the UN refugee agency, the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF – to help refugees and local communities in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

It comes as a harsh winter threatens even more suffering.

“If one year ago, we knew how it will be today, what could have been the decisions then? I am sure that if we could have that focus, the decisions could have been much more ambitious,” said the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

A statement by UN and EU leaders said some 9.3 million Syrians needed help, the number of internally displaced people had grown to 6.5 million and more than 2.2 million refugees had fled the country.

This week the United Nations appealed for 6.5 billion US dollars (4.7 billion euros) for Syria and its neighbours to help 16 million people, many of them hungry or homeless.

The heads of the UN and EU aid agencies called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” in Syria to allow convoys to deliver help to areas beyond the reach of aid workers.

The WFP said access remains difficult in many parts of Syria, including in both government and opposition-held zones.

The European Union said the Commission and the 28 member states have donated more than two billion euros since the start of the Syria crisis.

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