The UNHCR in April promoted Jolie from serving as its goodwill ambassador to special envoy due to her exceptional work for the agency.
Jordan opened the Zaatari facility for Syrians in July after long delaying a decision on whether to set up refugee camps, possibly to avoid Assad’s autocratic regime by showing images at his doorstep of civilians fleeing his military onslaught.
Jolie was also to visit Syrian refugees and meet authorities in Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq during the rest of her trip to the region.
In Geneva, the UNHCR said Tuesday that while the agency has 253,106 people registered or awaiting registration as Syrian refugees, the real number is likely far higher since tens of thousands are believed to have not yet registered. Some are getting help from family or friends, while some are afraid to register for fear of possible consequences from Assad’s regime. Agency spokesman Adrian Edwards said that figure includes 85,197 in Jordan, 78,431 in Turkey, 66,915 in Lebanon and 22,563 in Iraq as of this week.
Diplomatic efforts have so far failed to stop the bloodshed in Syria, but the new U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi plans to travel to Syria this week in a bid to revive them. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Brahimi will sit down with President Bashar Assad during an upcoming visit, although the date has not been announced.
“First and foremost, the violence must stop by both sides, regardless of their political grievances or problems may be. That is not acceptable,” Bah said at a news conference in the Swiss capital of Bern.
• Associated Press Writer John Heilprin in Geneva contributed to this report.