09/03/2013 12:41 EDT | Updated 11/02/2013 05:12 EDT

UN: The number of refugees from Syria tops 2 million; nearly 5,000 a day flee across borders

GENEVA - The U.N. refugee agency says the number of refugees fleeing Syria's violence has surpassed the 2 million mark — another tragic sign of a civil war that shows no sign of letting up.

Antonio Guterres, the head of the Office for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, says Syria is hemorrhaging an average of almost 5,000 citizens a day across its border, many of them with little more than the clothes they are wearing.

Guterres said in a statement Tuesday that nearly 1.8 million of the refugees have fled in the past 12 months alone.

The agency's special envoy, Angelina Jolie, says "some neighbouring countries could be brought to the point of collapse" if the situation keeps deteriorating at its current pace.

The Syrian conflict began in March 2011.