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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will release $6.6 million (£5 million) to a Syrian group that rescues civilians caught up in fighting and a United Nations group that monitors human rights abuses, the State Department said.

The funds will go to the Syrian Civil Defense fund, commonly known as the White Helmets and the U.N. International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism, which collects and analyses evidence of violations of international human rights laws, it said.

As the Syrian civil war enters its eighth year, global experts have investigated reported use of chemical weapons by Syria's government. More than 500,000 people have been killed in the fighting, which has drawn in global powers and neighbouring states.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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