Billions pledged to tackle Syria's crisis

·2-min read

Dozens of nations have pledged billions in aid to tackle war-ravaged Syria's deepening humanitarian and economic crises and assist neighbouring countries hosting refugees.

However the $US6.4 billion ($A8.4 billion) offering falls more than $US3 billion short of what the United Nations had hoped for.

The promise of aid came on the final day of an annual conference co-hosted by the UN and European Union amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic.

The conflict in Syria has entered its 11th year with no political solution in sight.

Announcing the total pledge, EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic said besides the grants, financial institutions and donors offered loans worth $US7 billion.

"A decade after Syrians peacefully took to the streets asking for freedom, justice and economic perspectives, those demands are still unmet and the country is in chaos," said Josep Borrell, the EU's top diplomat.

The EU said it committed to $US4.3 billion for 2021 and beyond, with $US1.31 billion coming from the bloc's executive arm and $US3 billion from the 27 EU member states.

The global pledges were lower than last year's total of $US7.7 billion.

Before the conference, the UN and other aid groups said they were seeking more than $US4 billion for aid to Syria, their biggest appeal yet.

Another $US5.8 billion was requested for nearly 6 million Syrian refugees who fled their homeland.

A group of 37 aid agencies said they were disappointed.

"While we welcome countries' pledges that have kept their funding at similar levels to last year's or increased it, as did Germany, it is extremely disappointing to see two major donors, the UK and the US, turn their back on the plight of Syrians," they said.

"This will have a devastating impact on their lives."

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced more than $US596 million in US humanitarian assistance for 2021.

The State Department said the aid will benefit people in Syria and refugees in neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

The decade of bloodshed in Syria has killed more than a half million people and sparked an exodus of refugees that has destabilised neighbouing countries and impacted Europe.

According to the UN, 13.4 million people in Syria - more than half the country's pre-war population - need assistance, a 20 per cent increase from last year.