Cameron, Clegg and Miliband unite for Syria appeal

Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron say the issue goes beyond party politics

The leaders of Britain's three main political parties have issued a joint statement urging more support for refugees fleeing Syria's civil war.

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg said four million children were caught up in the civil conflict.

The three leaders threw their support behind a United Nations appeal to raise £4 billion to help Syrian refugees.

They said the fate of a Syrian generation "hangs in the balance" with more than nine million affected.

The leaders said Britain will add to £523m it has already committed and urged other nations to follow suit.

"More than nine million people in Syria are suffering this Christmas, in desperate need of our help," the statement by the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders said.

"Four million of them are children - the equivalent of every primary school pupil in England. This is an urgent humanitarian issue that transcends the differences of party politics," it added.

'New Year's resolution'

"Our country has a long history of helping those in dire need. As a nation, we have already given £523m - including many generous donations from members of the public. But even more is needed to cope with the scale of the suffering.

"The UN has recently launched a new call for £4 billion - the largest appeal in its history. Britain will give more - and we urge other nations to do the same."

The political leaders also called on all sides in the conflict, which broke out in March 2011, to guarantee humanitarian access to ensure aid reached those who needed it.

"The fate of an entire generation of children hangs in the balance. We must all do everything we can to help them. There is no better New Year's resolution."

David Bull, the UK executive director of the UN children's charity Unicef, welcomed the statement.

"Without the right supplies - clean water and warm blankets and clothes, vaccines and medicines - cold conditions could be fatal, especially for babies and young children," he said.

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