The United Nations refugee agency said the number of Syrians who have fled their war-ravaged country and were seeking assistance has now reached the one million mark since fighting broke out almost two years ago.
In a statement released Wednesday in Geneva, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said the figure was based on reports from his agency's field offices in neighboring countries that have provided refuge for Syrians escaping the civil war.
"With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiralling towards full-scale disaster," Guterres.
He said 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.
The U.N. Security Council's members have been at loggerheads over how to end Syria's civil war, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's longstanding ally Russia, plus China, pitted against the United States, France and Britain, who are seeking a tough stance.