The United Nations is seeking $10bn in aid to help Syria, saying civilians there continue to face attacks as well as increased hunger and poverty, as the COVID-19 pandemic compounds the “despair and disaster” of 10 years of civil war. Al Jazeera quotes the UN as saying that at least 24 million Syrians need aid today – a rise of four million over the past year and the highest number yet since 2011, when President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters resulted in a brutal civil war.