GENEVA - Child refugees who have fled Syria's civil war are vulnerable to exploitation including early marriage, domestic violence and child labor, despite efforts to keep them in school, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday.
More than one million children, some without parents or close relatives, are among 2.1 million refugees who have crossed mainly into Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey since March 2011, the agency says.
Jordan hosts 540,000 Syrian refugees, straining health and education services and already scarce water resources, said Michele Servadei, UNICEF's deputy representative in Jordan.
Most Syrians live in host communities in the north, while 120,000 are at the teeming Zaatari camp in the Jordanian desert.
"In host communities they are much more exposed to child labour, to early marriage, to exploitation in general," Servadei told a news briefing in Geneva.