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THE UNITED NATIONS, July 03. /ITAR-TASS/. The United Nations lowered the forecast on the number of Syrian refugees: in line with new assessments, their number will total 3.6 million by the end of 2014 against the figure of 4.1 million mentioned earlier by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
According to the UNHCR, there are currently 2.9 million Syrian refugees registered in neigboring countries, with numbers growing at a rate of 100,000 people each month.
In line with the UNHCR-published Syria Regional Response Plan, the highest number of Syrian refugees - some 1.1 million - are in Lebanon. It is followed by Turkey (770,000), Jordan (600,000), Iraq (227,000) and Egypt (137,000).
The UN refugee agency said “failure to close the funding gap to meet the needs of the growing number of people fleeing the conflict in Syria could mean grave risks for the refugees, as well as for the stability of the region".
The warning came as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was preparing to present an updated 2014 Syria Regional Response Plan on Friday in Geneva, urging donors to fund a $3.74 billion program across Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
“Failing to provide enough humanitarian support for Syrian refugees by the end of 2014 could result in dramatic consequences for refugees and the stability of the entire region, including a serious security threat to Lebanon,” High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said.
“We have a situation of heightened volatility in the region, a spillover of the conflict into Iraq, and continued outflows of refugees into neighboring countries grappling with very complex security and humanitarian issues,” Guterres said.
International donors allocated $1.1 billion in contributions to the Syria Regional Response Plan, and the UNHCR and its partners have been able to provide for many of the food, health, education and protection needs of refugees. But, the agency noted that this amount constitutes only 30% of the required funds.
Fighting between Syrian government troops and militants has left over 100,000 people dead and displaced millions since its start in 2011, according to UN statistics.
The first two rounds of an international peace conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva II, organized by Russia and the United States and designed to negotiate a solution to the Syrian crisis, brought no particular progress in January and February. The parties to the Syrian conflict agreed to continue their discussions.