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Syria donors' conference raises over $10 billion: Cameron

AFP , Thursday 4 Feb 2016
Syria
British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a donor conference entitled 'Supporting Syria & The Region' at the QEII centre in central London on February 4, 2016. (Photo: AFP)
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Prime Minister David Cameron announced Thursday that a Syria donors' conference in London had raised over $10 billion (9.0 billion euros) for humanitarian aid.

"Today's achievements are not a solution to the crisis -- we still need to see a political transition," he said at the conference.

"But with today's commitments... our message to the people of Syria and the region is clear -- we will stand with you and support you for as long as it takes".

World leaders pledged billions of dollars Thursday to help conflict-hit Syrians, at a London conference overshadowed by the collapse of peace talks in Geneva.

The European Union, Germany, Britain and the United States were among those making major donations to areas including food aid, education and allowing Syrians displaced from their homeland to find work.

But hopes that the package could make a major difference inside Syria were weighed down by the suspension Wednesday of peace talks in Geneva until February 25.

The decision came as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, supported by Russian air strikes, stepped up their offensive near the major northern city of Aleppo, forcing nearly 40,000 civilians to flee.

Neighbouring countries including Jordan and Lebanon told the conference of their struggle to deal with the influx of millions of Syrians and urged nations at the conference to do more to help them.

The mood among many leaders was bleak, reflecting frustration at the halt Wednesday of the so-called proximity talks in Geneva which were seen as the best hope for peace since the conflict erupted in March 2011.

*The story was edited by Ahram Online.

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