The UK will invest at least an extra £1.2billion to fund education, jobs and humanitarian protection in Syria and the region, David Cameron has announced.
The cash will invested over the next four years, and will be directed at projects in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey
The government made the pledge ahead of a meeting involving delegates from 70 countries and international organisations in London to debate support for the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
The UK has already promised to spend £1.12billion in the region, making it the second biggest bi-lateral donor in the world and today’s announcement will see an extra £1.2billion-plus being spent between 2016 and 2020, taking the UK’s total investment to more than £2.3billion.
Mr Cameron said: “With hundreds of thousands of people risking their lives crossing the Aegean or the Balkans, now is the time to take a new approach to the humanitarian disaster in Syria.
“Today’s pledge of more than £2.3billion in UK aid sets the standard for the international community – more money is needed to tackle this crisis and it is needed now.
“But the conference I am hosting today is about more than just money. Our new approach of using fundraising to build stability, create jobs and provide education can have a transformational effect in the region – and create a future model for humanitarian relief.
“And we can provide the sense of hope needed to stop people thinking they have no option but to risk their lives on a dangerous journey to Europe.”
The Supporting Syria and the Region Conference will be co-hosted by the UK, alongside Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the United Nations.
It will aim to raise billions of dollars in international aid, with the current UN appeal standing at more than $7billion.
It will also aim to build economic opportunities, creating job opportunities for refugees and host country citizens as well as seeking to put all refugee children in education by 2017 – along with vulnerable children in the three host countries.
In addition, the conference will aim to make lives better for those still remaining in Syria, by funding food, shelter and healthcare, and rebuilding health facilities.
The conference is expected to send out a strong joint message reinforcing the importance of humanitarian rights in Syria.
It is expected to stress that siege is not an acceptable tactic of war; that all people must have access to humanitarian support; and that all sides must respect humanitarian law.