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Middle East

UN launches $1.5bn aid drive to help Syrian war victims


The UN is appealing for $1.5bn (£920m) to fund relief efforts  for those affected by the conflict  in Syria.

Officials have set targets of $1bn to meet the needs of the million people expected to have fled across the country’s borders by spring next year. More than 525,000 Syrians have already crossed into neighbouring countries.

The UN is also seeking $500m to provide aid to a further four million people inside Syria, half of whom have been displaced from their homes. The announcement came as Syrian government forces were reported to be carrying out a broad offensive against rebels in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus.

Sana news agency reported clashes in the outskirts of Darayya, Harasta, Douma and al-Hajar al-Aswad. On Tuesday, planes bombed the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp for the second time in a week, sending thousands fleeing. Rebels have been fighting a pro-government Palestinian group for control.

Launching the appeal in Geneva, Radhouane Nouicer, the UN’s regional humanitarian co-ordinator, said the magnitude of the crisis in Syria was “indisputable”.

The UN estimates that 25 per cent of Syria’s population now need humanitarian relief.