A UN refugee agency aid worker guides a forklift truck driver to offload its aid for Syria at the UNHCR warehouses in Dubai, part of the International Humanitarian City (IHC), the largest global stockpile for the UNHCR in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 (Photo: AP)
The UN refugee agency on Friday urged countries outside the Middle East to open their doors to 100,000 Syrians who need to find a haven outside their conflict-struck region.
The call from the United Nations high commissioner for refugees follows an earlier appeal to developed countries to grant a new home to 30,000 of the most vulnerable Syrians driven from their country.
With no sign of an end to the brutal three-year conflict between the regime of Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces, tens of thousands more will need help in the near future, it said.
"UNHCR anticipates that in the coming years, there will be increasing numbers of vulnerable Syrian refugees who will be in need of resettlement, relocation, or other forms of humanitarian admission," said spokesman Dan McNorton.
"We appeal to the international community to continue providing longer-term solutions for Syrian refugees who are most urgently in need," he told reporters.
The agency said it aimed to find a haven for the 100,000 new refugees during 2015 and 2016.
But it is still working to place the initial 30,000 before the end of this year.
Twenty countries have so offered more than 18,800 slots for resettlement or a long-term temporary permit.
Germany has done the most to shoulder the load, agreeing to take in 10,000 on a federal programme and 1,500 under schemes in individual states.
Canada has pledged 1,300, Sweden 1,200, Norway 1,000, and countries including Australia, Austria, Finland and France have agreed to take in 500 each.
UNHCR said it was likely to reach the total of 30,000 thanks to an open-ended number of slots proposed by the United States, already the world's top destination for refugee resettlement.
The figures are a shadow of the number of Syrian refugees in the Middle East.
All told, there are some 2.4 million Syrians spread across the region.
According to UNCHR figures, there are some 932,000 in Lebanon, 613,000 in Turkey, 574,000 in Jordan, 223,000 in Iraq, and 134,000 in Egypt.