01/17/2014 08:39 EST | Updated 03/19/2014 05:59 EDT

UN refugee chief calls on nations to keep borders open to Syrian refugees

SANLIURFA, Turkey - The U.N. refugee agency's chief has renewed a call on all nations to keep their borders open to Syrians fleeing their country, saying Syria's neighbours should not be "left alone" to cope with the influx.

More than 2 million people have been uprooted from their homes in Syria's civil war, many scattered in refugee camps and informal settlements dotting neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.

UNHCR High Commissioner Antonio Guterres said during a meeting with officials from countries neighbouring Syria Friday that the international community needed to assume "a true attitude of burden-sharing."

Guterres said: "It is unacceptable to see Syrian refugees drowning and dying in the Mediterranean Sea or being pushed back from borders."