The United Nations said the number of Syrian refugees registered in neighboring countries since 2011 will pass the three-million mark as of Friday, according to Reuters. That figure is one million refugees higher than last year.
In addition, another 6.5 million Syrians are displaced within their country, meaning that “almost half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives,” said the UN.
Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said, “The Syrian crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them.”
Most refugees are currently in neighboring countries, with the highest concentrations in Lebanon (1.14 million), Turkey (815,000), Jordan (608,000), and Iraq (215,000), the UNHCR said.
The UNHCR report said some areas of Syria were emptying out as the front lines in the conflict shifted. “Recent arrivals to Jordan, for example, are running from attacks in the areas of al-Raqqa and Aleppo,” the UNHCR said, referring to northern areas of Syria.
The three-million figure likely undercounts the actual number of refugees. Host governments estimate that hundreds of thousands more Syrians have fled to their countries without going through the formal registration process.
Syrians now constitute the world’s largest refugee population under the care of the UNHCR.
Over 191,000 people have been killed so far in the first three years of Syria’s civil war, a U.N. report said last week.