Donors seek to drum up Syria billions as UN convenes

International donors are seeking to drum up billions of dollars in aid for war-ravaged Syria, as the U.N. Security Council readies for an emergency meeting over a suspected deadly chemical attack there.

U.N. relief coordinator Stephen O'Brien said Wednesday that "for the immediate needs of 2017 we need about $8 billion."

Nearly 400,000 people have been killed, and half of Syria's population displaced, by the six-year conflict. U.N. agencies estimate war damages across Syria at $350 billion.

Earlier this week, at least 58 people were reported killed, including 11 children, in a suspected chemical attack in a town in northern Syria.

O'Brien described it as an "abominable act", and said that for aid funds to work in Syria "you have to have access, you have to have security."