EU Pledges $1.1 Billion to Help Syrian Refugees

EU pledge 1 million euros
A Syrian refugee boy stands in front of his family's tent in Al Zaatari refugee camp, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, September 22. The EU announced on Wednesday that is has pledged 1 million euros to help Syrian refugees. Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

European Union leaders have pledged another $1.1 billion to help U.N. agencies supporting Syrian refugees in the Middle East, making the announcement at a summit held in Brussels on Wednesday evening.

Particular attention will be paid to Syria's neighboring countries, who are hosting around four million refugees who have fled the war torn country. The money is being donated to the U.N. refugee agency and the World Food programme, according to the BBC.

The leaders also pledged greater cooperation and dialogue with Turkey, assistance for the Balkan states, who have become the main route for migrants trying to reach northern Europe, and strengthened border controls, including more funding for border security forces.

About half a million migrants have arrived in Europe this year, revealing bitter divides between Europe's nations over how best to respond to the crisis. On Tuesday, EU ministers voted by a majority to relocate 120,000 refugees throughout the EU, despite strong objections from several countries including as Hungary and Slovakia who oppose the scheme. Slovakia has vowed to mount a legal challenge against the decision.

The European Union and its member states have pledged more than $4.5 billion for relief and recovery assistance to Syrians in their country and to refugees and their host communities in neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt since the conflict began.