The number of Syrians who have fled the war in their country has risen above 5 million, in what is the world's largest refugee crisis, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said Thursday in Geneva.
Countries outside the Middle East must take in more Syrians under long-term resettlement programmes, UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said. "We still have a long road to travel in expanding resettlement," he said.
The tally of Syrian refugees in the Middle East and North Africa had hovered just below 5 million since the middle of last year.
Since February, Turkey has registered 47,000 Syrians, most of whom had fled previously, but had not been documented, UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told dpa.
Turkey is the largest host country for Syrian refugees, having taken in nearly 3 million during the six-year war.
Lebanon hosts more than 1 million Syrians, while nearly 700,000 have taken refuge in Jordan.
UNHCR called on governments outside the region to resettle 500,000 Syrians one year ago, to alleviate the burden on these countries in Syria's vicinity. To date, countries have only made available 250,000 places.
"As many states know from first-hand experience, resettlement not only gives refugees the opportunity to rebuild their lives, but also enriches the communities that welcome them," Grandi said.
The UN high commissioner for refugees also urged countries to create additional legal options that would allow Syrians to enter their countries.
Such legal pathways include family reunification programmes and study visas.
Around 400,000 people are thought to have died in the Syrian civil war, which began in March 2011 with the violent quelling of peaceful demonstrations against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
In addition to the people who have fled the country, more than 6 million have become displaced within Syria's borders.