GENEVA - About 2.5 million people caught up in Syria's fighting need aid, the United Nations said on Friday, double the number it estimated in June.

The sharp rise was caused by an upsurge in violence over the summer, particularly in the capital Damascus and the country's economic center Aleppo, UN officials said during a meeting with major donors, including the United States and Russia.

"The situation for the people of Syria people is appalling and getting worse every day," John Ging, director of operations for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told the gathering.

The United Nations also almost doubled its appeal for funds to purchase food, medicine, sanitation equipment and other supplies to $347 million from a previous $180 mln.

A total of $103 mln funding had already come in, said OCHA.

After the Friday meeting, the European Commission said it would give a further 50 mln euros ($63 mln), on top of its existing 69 mln euro contribution.

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