UN agency: Syrian refugee figure hits 1 million

BERLIN: The United Nations refugee agency says the number of Syrians who have fled their war-ravaged country and are seeking assistance has now reached the one million mark.

In a statement released Wednesday in Geneva, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, says the figure is based on reports from his agency’s field offices in neighboring countries that have provided refuge for Syrians escaping the civil war. With millions more displaced but still inside Syria, Guterres warns the country is “spiraling towards full-scale disaster.”

He says the number of refugees has swelled dramatically since the first of the year, with most Syrians pouring into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Their presence is severely straining the resources of host countries and the entire international donor community.