Syria refugees
Syrian refugee children play at the Mrajeeb Al Fhood refugee camp, east of the city of Zarqa, JordanReuters

The EU has agreed to boost economic aid to Syria by a further €50m ($67m, £40m) as the country's humanitarian catastrophe deepens.

The extra funds, which will be used to alleviate suffering among the most vulnerable people, bring the total amount of aid to €150m in 2014.

Almost three and a half years into the conflict, more than 170,000 people have been killed, while around half of Syria's population has been displaced.

The conflict is the "world's largest humanitarian crisis", the European Commission said in a statement.

The commission also approved proposals to increase assistance to Syria's neighbours to help them cope with the massive influx of refugees.

Lebanon has accepted more than a million refugees since the conflict began. These latest refugees now makes up more than a quarter of the country's population.

The commission will also deliver an additional €125m to Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon, whose economies have been battered by the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrians, many of whom arrive with nothing.

Schools have become oversubscribed, along with hospitals, while increased demand for housing has pushed up rents and led to some resentment among host communities.

The EU has been the biggest donor of humanitarian aid to the relief effort. The bloc and its member states have contributed €2.8bn in relief and recovery aid since the conflict began in 2011.