FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, file photo, Syrian refugee children walk in mud from the heavy rain at a refugee camp in the town of Hosh Hareem, in the Bekaa valley, east Lebanon. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)
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International aid to the victims of Syria's five-year war, including millions forced to flee their homes, has persistently fallen short, but organizers of Thursday's annual Syria pledging conference hope for greater generosity this time around, despite a record request of close to $9 billion for 2016 .The total aid requirement to be presented in London amounts to nearly $9 billion, including a U.N.-coordinated appeal by dozens of aid agencies for $7.73 billion and a $1.23 billion request by regional host governments. The latter is a small portion of the massive economic support sought in the coming years by countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, which host nearly 4.6 million Syrian refugees. Currently, the vast majority of refugees are banned from legal work, making them dependent on scarce aid or forcing them into poorly paid informal jobs.Jordan has balked at the idea of having to borrow for anything linked to the refugee crisis, but has welcomed zero-interest financing for development programs it had to put on hold in recent years.Currently, more than 700,000 school-age refugees are out of school, more than half the total.A string of diplomatic failures has meanwhile worsened conditions inside Syria, where aid groups say 13.5 million people are now in need of assistance.
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