AN AID worker from Dorset who is based in war-torn Syria has urged Western governments to help bring hope back to the region.

Matthew Hemsley, who grew up in Ferndown, travelled from Syria to Brussels ahead of a meeting hosted by the European Union to discuss future aid to the devastated country.

The 34-year-old, who works as policy and communications advisor for Oxfam, is based in Damascus alongside other humanitarian workers.

Speaking on the eve of eight-year anniversary of the crisis, he said: "Millions of Syrians have suffered eight years of brutal conflict. Money is needed to help them rebuild their lives.

"It is not about hand-outs, they want to become self-reliant again. One of the hardest things to cope with in Syria is the lack of hope.

"It has been eight years of war. People just want it to end, but they have so little hope of rebuilding their lives and so little hope for their children. That is really difficult to keep on hearing."

Around 11.7 million people still dependent on humanitarian aid in Syria, despite the fact fighting in large parts of the nation has subsided.

According to the United Nations more than 80 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, more than one in three schools are damaged or destroyed and over two million children are out of school.

Sixty per cent of people dependent on humanitarian aid live in government-controlled areas. Homes and schools have been destroyed, neighbourhoods lack clean running water and sanitation, and people lack the means of making a living to feed their families.

Oxfam and the Danish Refugee Council are calling for on governments and other donors to provide more funding to help Syrians recover from the conflict and rebuild their lives. The international agencies also call on the Syrian government to allow humanitarian organisations access to all those in need throughout the country.

Matthew said: "I was recently in eastern Aleppo and you see buildings that are almost totally destroyed, and then someone appears at the window.

"They are living there. And I've now seen that in so many other places. It is hard to believe - no windows, no doors, no running water, no electricity. People try to fix one room in one house, and then have 20 people living in it.

"The destruction and impact on people's lives is just on an unimaginable scale."