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'No end in sight' as refugee numbers continue to grow

The worsening Syrian crisis has prompted the United Nations to make its biggest ever appeal for humanitarian aid.

The UN said it needs $5 billion to help the "staggering escalation of the refugee crisis."

Andrew Harper from the UN Refugee Agency said: "The numbers are just massive and there's no end in sight, no light at the end of the tunnel. We have politicians talking and talking and talking but there's nothing on the humanitarian front having any impact."

This week, we have been hearing stories of life inside the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

ITV News Middle East Correspondent John Ray:

For more on the Zaatari refugee camp, including all of John Ray's reports click here.

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Fighting goes on in Syria amid humanitarian crisis

Fighting between rebels and pro-government forces continued in Syria today as the UN made its largest-ever humanitarian appeal for civilians caught up in the conflict.

Soldiers loyal to the Syrian regime in the village of Debaa near Qusair
Soldiers loyal to the Syrian regime in the village of Debaa near Qusair Credit: REUTERS/Rami Bleible

Syrian forces are trying to flush out the remaining pockets of resistance around the town of Qusair after claiming victory on Wednesday.

Activists said there were many bodies in the fields surrounding the town, including some women and children.

Clashes also continued on the Golan Heights, close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria, a day after rebels briefly seized the sole crossing between the two foes.

Watch: Syrian rebels suffer strategic defeat in Qusair

British volunteer doctor: No part of Syria is really safe

A British doctor has gained a first-hand insight into the grave humanitarian situation in Syria after using his annual leave to volunteer in the country.

Omar Gabbar is a consultant at Leicester General Hospital and he spoke to ITV News:

Mr Gabbar has been working with the charity Hand In Hand For Syria.

Watch our series of special reports from Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan here.

Reporting the plight of Syrian kids in Jordan's tent city

ITV News has been reporting all week from the Zaatari refugee camp, a vast tent city on the Jordanian-Syrian border that houses more than 120,000 refugees.

Watch all of our Middle East Correspondent John Ray's reports below:

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UN aid appeal equal to Britain's annual gardening budget

The UN's latest aid appeal for Syria tops £5 billion - an amount that the organisation's High Commissioner for Refugees said is beyond the scope of the world's national aid budgets.

To put the amount into perspective, the UN points out that it is equivalent to what Brits spend on gardening each year:

Infographic released by UNHCR
Infographic released by UNHCR Credit: UNHCR

Watch our correspondent John Ray's special report on the children of Zaatari refugee camp here.

You can donate to the UN appeal here.

Britain has been 'at the forefront' of Syrian aid response

The UK has been at the forefront of the humanitarian response in Syria and our £114m funding for previous UN-led appeals has already helped to provide food, medicine and shelter to hundreds of thousands of people.

Britain has never stood on the sidelines and we are ready to play our role. We will be making further announcements over the next weeks and months, but other donors must also play their part.

– Justine Greening, International Development Secretary

UN: Syrian aid received covers just 28% of need

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, has said that the amount of money received by aid agencies to date covers just 28% of the estimated demand.

He said the UN estimates that $2.9 billion (£1.9bn) are needed - in addition to $2 billion (£1.3bn) outstanding from earlier pledges - to meet the humanitarian need in Syrian and surrounding countries.

Aid agencies have received just $840 million (£540m) to date.

UN: Syria is 'most challenging' aid operation in decades

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, has described the conflict in Syria as "probably the most challenging humanitarian operation in decades".

Speaking at the launch of the UN's largest-ever aid appeal, he said he was concerned that the scale of the need in Syria was too large to be covered by the "traditional aid budgets of donor governments" alone.

The Syria conflict is, without a doubt, the one with the most dangerous regional and global impact on peace and security, and the worst humanitarian consequences, we have faced in a very long time ...

The amounts required are on a scale that is difficult to picture. As I have said many times before ... [it] is painfully clear that traditional aid budgets of donor governments will not be sufficient to cover the enormous needs generated by the Syrian crisis, and that support will have to come from broader funding mechanisms.

– António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Read: UN: Half of Syrian population will need aid by end of 2013

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