24 Aug 2012

Syria's refugee exodus surges

11:03 pm on 24 August 2012

The United Nations refugee agency says that more than 200,000 Syrian refugees have fled to neighbouring countries as the conflict has intensified.

The UNHCR says the total reflects an increase of 30,000 in the past week alone to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, the ABC reports. The UN has previously projected a total of 185,000 refugees by the end of this year.

"We are now at a much higher level ... 202,512 refugees in the surrounding region," the UNHCR's Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Geneva.

"In Jordan, a record 2200 people crossed the border overnight and were received at Za'atri camp in the north."

More than 3500 people fleeing violence in Syria have entered Turkey over the past 24 hours, Turkey's disaster and emergency management directorate says. This is one of the highest daily refugee flows since the start of the uprising last year.

Mr Edwards, referring to Lebanon where 51,000 Syrian refugees are now registered, said: "The deteriorating security situation in Lebanon is hampering our work to help refugees fleeing Syria's conflict, though operations are continuing."