As many as one in 10 of those who have fled Syria due to the conflict there will need to be permanently resettled, the UN refugee agency has said.

UNHCR said in a statement issued on Tuesday that 10 per cent of the 4.8 million Syrians currently living as refugees in surrounding countries will need to be permanently resettled with more than 450,000 places for them needed before the end of 2018 in order to relieve pressure on those neighbouring countries and protect the most vulnerable of the refugees.

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement that addressing the plight of those who have fled war is not just the responsibility of the countries and communities that are in close proximity to the conflicts. "It is a global responsibility that must be widely shared until peace prevails again," he said.

Mr Grandi's comments came ahead of a one-day conference to be held in Geneva on Wednesday which will focus on the plight of Syrian refugees. UNHCR said the focus of the meeting - which is expected to be attended by representatives of more than 90 nations - would be on the need for expanded resettlement programs and other forms of humanitarian admission including by countries that have as yet not been involved in such initiatives.

Alongside the 4.8 million Syrian refugees now in neighbouring countries, more than 13.5 million people are in need of help inside Syria.