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US pledges another $380 million to help war-torn Syria

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Pool via Reuters

Secretary of State John Kerry pledged an additional $380 million in humanitarian aid for Syria on Wednesday.

Secretary of State John Kerry promised an extra $380 million in international humanitarian efforts for war-devastated Syria on Wednesday.

The money brings the total amount the U.S. has pledged to help provide water, food, medical care and shelter to those affected by the three-year civil war to $1.7 billion.

Kerry made the announcement in Kuwait at an international donor conference intended to help the United Nations reach a $6.5-billion aid target for the crisis -- the largest appeal in the world body's history. Kuwait promised $500 million at the same meeting.

Half of the newly announced funds will go to U.N. programs within Syria, while the rest is for neighboring countries that have taken in some 2.3 million who have fled the country, according to a State Department statement.

The United Nations estimates that the war has set Syria's development back decades, with half of the population now living in poverty and some 9.3 million in the country needing help as a result of the war.

On January 7, the U.N. announced it had stopped updating its death toll estimates from the civil war, saying that it can no longer verify the sources of information that led to its last count of at least 100,000 in late July.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who chaired the conference, said he hoped peace talks scheduled to be held on January 22 would bring the Syrian government and opposition to the negotiating table.

"I hope this will launch a political process to establish a transitional governing body with a full executive powers, and most importantly, end the violence," he said. 

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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