The United Nations is asking for $6.5 billion in aid to help the millions of Syrians forced from their homes by more than two and a half years of fighting.
U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said $2.3 billion of that amount is needed for those displaced in Syria. The rest is necessary to help Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and elsewhere in the region.
"This is the largest amount we have ever had to request at the start of the year,'' she told a news conference, referring to the worldwide appeal. She said the money requested for Syria was the largest U.N. appeal ever for a single crisis.
"The increasing number of internally displaced people and refugees is generating greater needs across all sectors and straining the capacities of neighboring countries, with profound regional consequences,'' the appeal said of Syria.
The United Nations sent its first delivery of humanitarian aid by air to Syria from Iraq on Sunday and said it plans to deliver more food, blankets and winter supplies to the mainly Kurdish northeast in the next 12 days. The people in that region are dealing with harsh living conditions due to winter storms that are sweeping the region. The governments of Syria and Iraq approved the flights.
The U.N. is seeking $2.3 billion to help 9.3 million people in Syria next year, compared with its 2013 appeal of $1.4 billion, of which only 62 percent has been received, U.N. figures show.
The U.N. estimates about 40 percent of Syria's population has been forced from their homes by the fighting.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters