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UN refugee agency: Europe holds 4 percent of Syrian refugees but should help more

Mideast Syria Women Refugees-1.jpg

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2012, file photo, Syrian refugees cross from Syria to Turkey by the Orontes river, near the village of Hacipasa, Turkey. Across the region women lead about a quarter of all Syrian refugee families, which number some 145,000, the United Nations estimated in a report issued Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File) (The Associated Press)

The U.N. refugee agency says Europe has taken in 123,600 Syrians since the conflict began in March 2011, including over 11,000 who were rescued off the coast of Italy this year.

The agency's tally shows just 4 percent of all the 2.9 million Syrian refugees wind up in Europe, mostly in Sweden, Germany, Bulgaria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The bulk of Syria's refugees flee for neighboring countries.

Agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told reporters Friday in Geneva that European governments must do more to welcome and protect the growing numbers of Syrian refugees that are seeking safety in countries beyond the Mideast.