The number of Syrian refugees, which just passed the million mark, could double or triple by the end of the year if no solution is found to the conflict, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said Sunday.
"Now if this escalation goes on and nothing happens to solve the problem we might have in the end of the year a much larger number of refugees: twice or three times the present level," he told reporters in Ankara, according to the AFP news agency.
His warning came days after the UN announced that the number of Syrian refugees hit one million since the revolt erupted in the country two years ago.
The UN agency had registered 33,000 refugees one year ago, but the numbers escalated as the war intensified, sending waves of refugees into neighboring countries.
Guterres is in Turkey to meet officials and discuss the situation of the more than 180,000 refugees who have taken shelter in several camps set up along Turkey-Syria border.
Ankara says the number is much higher as at least 70,000 others live in houses they have rented elsewhere in Turkey, according to AFP.