Three million Syrians are now refugeesListen /
Three million Syrians have fled into neighbouring countries , in what the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) describes as 'the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era'.
UNHCR says inside the country a further 6.5 million have been internally displaced.
Majority of the Syrian refugees have fled into Lebanon where over 1.1 million are registered, Jordan 608,000 and Turkey 815,000.
The UNHCR says the recent upsurge in fighting is worsening an already desperate situation with fleeing families arriving in refugee camps in a shocking state, exhausted, scared and with their saving depleted as they are being forced to pay smugglers hefty sums of money to take them to safety.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres says although donors have been generous and contributed over $4 billion to the regional response plan since the start of the crisis in 2012, more than $2 billion is still needed by the end of the year to meet the urgent needs of refugees.
Melissa Fleming is the UNHCR spokesperson in Geneva.
"There are cities where populations are surrounded, people are going hungry and civilians are being targeted or indiscriminately killed. Almost half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives. One in every eight Syrians has fled across the border, fully a million people more than a year ago. almost half of the population of Syria has now been forced to flee the country, fleeing for their lives and one in every 8 Syrians has crossed an international border to seek safety there. This is up from 2 million one year ago. That means that in one year, one million people fled across international borders into neighbouring countries. There are worrying signs that the journey out of Syria is becoming tougher. We have been told that many people are forced to pay bribes at armed checkpoints, proliferating along the border and that the price is becoming very step."
Syrians are now the world's largest refugee population under UNHCR care.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.