Britain, Germany to host Syria donor conference in 2016

BELEK, Turkey (Reuters) - The leaders of Britain and Germany on Monday said they would hold a conference next year to raise funds for Syrians displaced or plunged into poverty by the country's civil war, saying international donations had fallen sharply. The war, heading toward towards its fifth year, has sparked Europe's worst refugee crisis since World War Two, displacing millions, and left an estimated 250,000 dead in fighting between pro-government forces and a patchwork of armed groups, including Islamic State. The quest for a political solution to the crisis appears to have taken on a new urgency at this year's Group of 20 (G20) summit in Turkey, being held just days after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris. The leaders of Britain, Germany, Norway and Kuwait, together with the United Nations, said they would hold the donor conference in London in February. "The international community has a responsibility to help the 13.5 million vulnerable and displaced people inside Syria, and the 4.2 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries and we must step up our efforts," they said in a joint statement released at the G20, being held in the Turkish coastal province of Antalya. Current funding of U.N. appeals for Syria has not reached last year's levels, they said, putting funding at $3.3 billion now versus an appeal of $8.4 billion. (Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Toby Chopra)