The number of Syrian residents fleeing their country is rising fast, says the UN refugee agency. It puts the number at 5,000 day, bringing the total who have fled so far to nearly 800,000, reports Reuters. That's a 25% increase in January alone, reports the New York Times, which says makeshift camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq can't safely handle the exodus. "This is a full-on crisis," says a UN spokesman. And it may get worse, reports AP: Rebels have pushed to within a mile of Damascus, setting up a protracted battle for the capital.
"Any attempt by the rebels to advance into central Damascus would mean the beginning of a very long fight," says a Syrian activist. "I imagine Aleppo would be a small example of what is likely to happen in Damascus." (Read more Syria stories.)