UN: Syrian refugees top 250,000 in 4 countries

A Syrian man takes food from an FSA aid truck in the Saif Al Dula District in Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. Syria's most prominent defector said in an interview that aired Monday that he opposes any foreign military intervention in the country's civil war and that he is confident the opposition can topple President Bashar Assad's regime. But Manaf Tlass, a Syrian general who was the first member of Assad's inner circle to join the opposition, said the rebels need weapons. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

GENEVA - The U.N. refugee agency says the number of Syrian refugees seeking its help now tops a quarter-million.

Agency spokesman Adrian Edwards says 253,106 people have registered or are awaiting registration as Syrian refugees.

Edwards told reporters Tuesday in Geneva there are 85,197 in Jordan, 78,431 in Turkey, 66,915 in Lebanon and 22,563 in Iraq as of this week.

Officials acknowledge, however, the real number of Syrian refugees is likely far higher since tens of thousands are believed to have not yet registered with authorities.

Edwards says the refugees say artillery and air attacks are continuing in villages and towns close to the Jordanian border.

Activists say up to 23,000 people have been killed in Syria since an uprising began in March 2011 against President Bashar Assad's regime.