Syrian refugees at Al Zaatri refugee camp in
Syrian refugees at Al Zaatri refugee camp inReuters

The United Nations refugee agency said on Friday that more than 200,000 Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring countries as the conflict has intensified.

According to a BBC report, the UNHCR said the figure was already more than its projection of 185,000 for the end of this year. About 30,000 arrived in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan in the past week, it said.

“We are now at a much higher level of 202,512 refugees in the surrounding region,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told a news conference in Geneva.

“In Jordan, a record 2,200 people crossed the border overnight and were received at Zaatari camp in the north,” he added.

The BBC noted that the total reflects an increase of about 30,000 in the past week, but also takes into account a change in the way refugees are counted in Jordan.

Edwards said the deteriorating security situation in Lebanon, where 51,000 refugees are registered, was “hampering our work to help refugees fleeing Syria's conflict, though operations are continuing.”

There are also thought to be more than 1.2 million internally displaced people in Syria, and 2.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance.

On Thursday, international agencies issued a worldwide appeal for Syria's displaced citizens. Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council, and five global leaders known as The Elders called on Syrian authorities to allow humanitarian organizations into the country as outlined in the plan advanced by former UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

Although he agreed to the proposal, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad subsequently completely ignored it.

Earlier this week, Syria’s deputy prime minister Qadri Jamil said that Syria was ready to discuss Assad’s resignation as part of a negotiated settlement to end the 17 months of bloodshed.

The Syrian opposition rejected Jamil’s remarks, saying Assad is a “criminal” and that “there is no room to negotiate with a criminal.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)