About 11,000 Syrian refugees have fled to three neighbouring countries in the past 24 hours, the largest exodus in "quite some time", the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.
The latest exodus into Turkey (9,000), Lebanon (1,000) and Jordan (1,000) brings to 408,000 the total number of Syrian refugees registered or being assisted in the region, Panos Moumtzis of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said.
"It just indicates a significant crisis, the continuation of the conflict," Moumtzis told a news briefing in Geneva after aid agencies held a Syria Humanitarian Forum. "In Turkey, we know from most refugees that they come from Aleppo or Idlib or northern areas. That has been the trend so far."
A Turkish foreign ministry official confirmed that about 8,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria crossed into Turkey in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of refugees in Turkey to around 120,000.
State-run Anatolian news agency also reported on Friday that 26 Syrian officers had defected from the Syrian military to Turkey overnight.