About half of all those forced to flee the conflict are children, the UN says.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said the number of people seeking haven in neighbouring countries had jumped since the beginning of the year. Half of the refugees were children, the UN said, most under the age of 11 and often traumatised by their experiences.
The largest numbers of refugees were seeking shelter in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
“Syria is spiralling towards full-scale disaster,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in a statement, warning that the international humanitarian response capacity was “dangerously stretched”.
Many of those who have fled conflict now live in difficult conditions, with poor sanitation and insufficient resources to cope with the harsh winters.
In Lebanon, for example, the influx of almost a third of a million refugees since last February had swollen the country’s population by 10%.
Turkey, providing a temporary home for some 184,000 refugees, has spent more than $600m (459m euros; £396m) setting up 17 refugee camps, and was building new ones to meet the increasing need, the UN said, including assistance with language translation.
A global crisis on that affects an entire nation often causes strain on neighbouring borders and government resources which are directed at housing and securing the safety of each individual that crosses the border. Governments are not only injecting huge resource into food and housing but also language translation.
Translators and interpreters are often shipped from around the world to assist with the rescue and stability of civilians crossing nations. Governing parties turn to translation companies to assist with the acquisition and recruitment of language translators to allow their attentions to be focussed of the nourishment and housing of each person entering their country.