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EU Pledges $372M in Aid for Syrian Refugees

(CN) - The European Commission on Tuesday released a flurry of economic aid packages to help 1.5 million Syrian refugees and their beleaguered host nations on the front lines.

Calling the effort "the single biggest EU measure in response to the Syrian refugee crisis to date," the EU Regional Trust Fund offered nearly $372 million in economic aid packages to 1.5 million refugees and their overstretched host communities of Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq.

The money will be spent on basic education and child protection, health care, water and waste infrastructure improvements, and efforts to provide economic opportunities and social inclusion for the refugees, the commission said.

"Today's decision is concrete evidence of EU solidarity with Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, those countries hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees who flee violence and persecutions," commission vice president Federica Mogherini said. "The war in Syria is the biggest humanitarian crisis we have been facing for decades; we have a duty to provide support to refugees and the communities that are hosting them."

Mogherini added that the money will also allow the EU to deliver aid on the ground in Syria if and when a cease-fire happens.

"A lasting solution to the refugee crisis will only be achieved through a political process leading to a transition, led by the Syrians themselves, to put the country back to stability and peace," Mogherini said. "The EU will spare no effort to contribute to launch the political process, in parallel to the fight against Daesh and terrorist organizations."

The commission also said Tuesday that it has successfully delivered $212 million in humanitarian aid to Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Western Balkans as promised this past September.

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