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UNHCR: 1.5 million Syrian refugees now registered

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 17 (UPI) -- At least 1.5 million Syrian refugees have now fled the civil war, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Friday.

Dan McNorton, a spokesman for the agency, said the real number is probably considerably higher. He said many Syrian refugees are wary of registering with UNHCR.

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The number is also expected to grow. So far this year, UNHCR has been registering about 250,000 refugees a month.

"Refugees tell us the increased fighting and changing of control of towns and villages, in particular in conflict areas, results in more and more civilians deciding to leave. In the past four months we have seen a rapid deterioration when compared to the previous 20 months of this conflict," McNorton said.

Most of the refugees are in the countries around Syria, especially Turkey. Thousands of people have also fled their homes in Syria but are still in the country.

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