$11b pledge

LONDON – Donor nations pledged on Thursday to give $11billion in aid to Syrians by 2020 as world leaders tried to tackle the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, while Turkey reported a new exodus of tens of thousands fleeing air strikes.

With Syria’s five-year-old civil war raging and another attempt at peace negotiations called off in Geneva after just a few days, a donor conference in London sought to address the needs of about six million people displaced within Syria and more than four million refugees in other countries.

Underlining the desperate situation on the ground in Syria, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the meeting that about 70,000 Syrians were on the move towards his country to escape aerial bombardments on the city of Aleppo.

Mr Davutoglu accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, backed by foreign fighters and Russian air strikes, of seeking to do the same to Aleppo as they did to the besieged town of Madaya, where dozens have starved to death.

“What they want to do in Aleppo today is exactly what they did in Madaya before, a siege of starvation,” he told a news conference at the end of the event.

Turkey is already hosting more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees. Jordan and Lebanon are the other countries bearing the brunt of the Syrian refugee exodus.

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