The number of Syrians who have fled abroad since the outbreak of civil war in their country has risen to more than 4 million, the largest number from any crisis in almost 25 years, the United Nations said Thursday.
A recent wave of people leaving Syria and an update of Turkish statistics confirm the milestone, according to the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR.
UNHCR said a surge in new refugee arrivals in Turkey had pushed the total number of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries to over 4,013,000 people. An additional 7.6 million people are displaced inside Syria, the report said.
"This is the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation," said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres in a statement. "It is a population that needs the support of the world but is instead living in dire conditions and sinking deeper into poverty."
The new figure shows that the flow of refugees is accelerating only 10 months after the agency recorded more than 3 million Syrians fleeing their country.
Turkey has seen much of the recent flow. In June alone, according to UNHCR, more than 24,000 people arrived from northern Syria amid fighting between Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Kurds. The more than 1.8 million Syrians in Turkey have made it the biggest host of refugees in the world.
Nearly 249,726 refugees have been sheltered in Iraq, while Jordan hosts 629,128 and Egypt and Lebanon are home to 132,375 and 1,172,753 respectively.
The report does not include 270,000 asylum applications by Syrians in Europe, and the thousands of others resettled from the region elsewhere.
The Syrian conflict has entered in its fifth year but with little hope in sight of a possible solution as many seek refuge in Western Europe, taking increasingly risky paths as European countries resist the flow.
“Worsening conditions are driving growing numbers towards Europe and further afield, but the overwhelming majority remain in the region,” Guterres said. “We cannot afford to let them and the communities hosting them slide further into desperation.”
UNHCR's appeal for $5.5 billion to support the Syrian refugees in 2015 is only 24 percent funded. The U.N. World Food Program has already cut rations for refugees because of a lack of cash.
About 86 percent of the 630,000 in Jordan live below the poverty line of $3.2 per day, the UNHCR statement said, while more than half of the 1.173 million Syrians in Lebanon live in sub-standard shelters.
Al Jazeera with wire services