ISTANBUL — Hollywood star Angelina Jolie met with Syrian refugees in Turkey on Thursday to draw attention to the plight of the hundreds of thousands who have fled their nation's civil war.

The trip by Jolie, who is a special envoy for the U.N. refugee agency, comes as Turkey grows increasingly concerned that the number of registered Syrian refugees on its soil – about 80,000 – is becoming difficult to manage.

Turkey has also been frustrated in attempts to persuade the international community to help set up safe havens for Syrian civilians inside Syria.

Jolie and Antonio Guterres, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, met privately with refugees at two camps near the Syrian border. Jolie's two-day itinerary in Turkey was also to include a stop in Ankara, the capital, for talks with officials including President Abdullah Gul.

Jolie said the refugees had told her they were grateful to Turkey for its help. "And they are very, very emotional and very deeply saddened by the situation in Syria and very concerned about their families and their friends in their country," the actress said.

Earlier this week, Jolie and Guterres visited Syrian refugees in Jordan, which is also sheltering those who have fled the 18-month-long conflict in neighboring Syria. Guterres said the sheer number of refugees is taking a toll on Jordan's economy and resources.

The U.N. refugee agency has said the number of Syrian refugees seeking its help now tops a quarter-million – and could be far higher. Activists estimate some 23,000 people have been killed in the bloodshed in Syria since March 2011.

Turkey, which supports the Syrian opposition in its fight against President Bashar Assad's regime, has maintained what it calls an "open door" policy for Syrians fleeing the violence. Turkey has spent more than $300 million on the refugee crisis and is building three new camps, raising the total number of camps to 14.

Several thousand Syrians have been stranded on the Syrian side of the border this month, barred from entering Turkey while they await transfer to the new camps.

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  • March 2011

    Protests erupt in the Southern city of Daraa after 15 young boys were arrested for spraying anti-government slogans on a city wall.

  • April 19, 2011

    In an attempt to ease the protests, the Syrian government passes a bill that lifts Syria's 48-year emergency rule. <br> <em>In this citizen journalism image made on a mobile phone and acquired by the AP, taken Monday April 18, 2011, Syrians pray in Clock Square in the center of the city of Homs, Syria. (AP)</em>

  • April 22, 2011

    Security forces and gunmen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad kill at least 100 protesters, rights group said. <br> <em>Syrian anti-government protesters gesture as they demonstrate following Friday prayers in the central city of Homs, Syria, Friday, April 22, 2011. (AP)</em>

  • May 23, 2011

    The European Union imposed sanctions on president Bashar Assad and nine other senior government officials.<br> <em>Syrian President Bashar Assad, seen, during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, unseen, at the presidency in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009. (AP)</em>

  • November 12, 2011

    The Arab League suspends Syria.<br> <em>General view of the Arab League emergency session on Syria at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov.12, 2011. (AP)</em>

  • December 7, 2011

    Assad denies ordering his troops to kill peaceful demonstrators, telling U.S. television channel ABC that only a "crazy" leader kills his own people.<br> <em>In this image from amateur video made available by the Ugarit News group on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, the coffins of three protesters are carried during a march in Homs, Syria. (AP)</em>

  • December 27, 2011

    Arab League monitors said they saw "nothing frightening" during an initial visit to Homs, as 20,000 people held protests there. The monitor mission was part of an Arab League peace plan negotiated between the organization and the Assad regime to end the bloodshed in the country.<br> <em>In this image made from amateur video released by Shaam News Network and dated Wednesday Dec. 28, 2011, purports to show Arab League monitors visiting the Baba Amr area of Homs in Syria. (AP)</em>

  • January 28, 2012

    The Arab League suspends its monitoring mission while violence becomes increasingly gruesome.<br> <em>This citizen journalism image provided by the Local Coordination Committees in Syria and released on Friday Jan. 27, 2012, purports to show the bodies of five Syrian children wrapped in plastic bags, with signs in Arabic identifying them by name. (AP)</em>

  • January 31, 2012

    Government forces reasserted control over parts of Damascus as Syrian rebels withdrew, after three days of fighting that activists say killed at least 100 people.<br> <em>Syrian rebels hold their RPG and their guns as they stand on alert during a battle with the Syrian government forces, at Rastan area in Homs province, central Syria, on Tuesday Jan. 31, 2012. (AP)</em>

  • February 4, 2012

    Russia and China vetoed a resolution from the U.N. Security Council calling for Assad to step down.<br> <em>An anti-Syrian regime protester holds up a placard against Russia as others chant slogans during a midnight demonstration against Syrian President Bashar Assad, in the suburb of Kedssaya, in Damascus, Syria, on Saturday Feb. 4, 2012. (AP)</em>

  • February 16, 2012

    The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution endorsing the Arab League plan calling for Assad to step aside.<br> <em>In this citizen journalism image provide by the Local Coordination Committees in Syria, anti-Syrian regime protesters hold an Arabic banner which reads "Homs is the city of the orphan Syrian revolution," as they march during a demonstration against Syrian President Bashar Assad, at Dael village in Daraa province, south Syria, on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. (AP)</em>

  • February 22, 2012

    More than 80 people were killed in Homs including two foreign journalists, Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik. Syrian security forces shelled Homs for nearly a month in an attempt to drive Syrian Free Army fighters out. Activists say hundreds of people have died in the siege. <br> <em>This is an undated image of journalist Marie Colvin, made available Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 by the Sunday Times in London. (AP)</em>

  • February 23, 2012

    Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was appointed U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria. <br>

  • February 27, 2012

    Opposition fighters leave the besieged neighborhood of Baba Amr in Homs. Government troops vow to 'cleanse' the neighborhood. <i>In this Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 citizen journalism image provided by the Local Coordination Committees in Syria and accessed on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, black smoke rises into the air from Syrian government shelling, at Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs province, Syria. (AP Photo/Local Coordination Committees in Syria)</i>

  • February 28, 2012

    According to Assad, 90 percent of voters endorsed a new constitution in a referendum on February 26. The declaration was widely dismissed as a sham.<br>

  • March 8, 2012

    Syria's deputy oil minister announces his defection in a YouTube video.

  • March 14, 2012

    The Guardian obtains thousands of emails that appear to have been sent and received by Syrian president Bashar Assad and his wife Asma. <i>In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad casts his ballot next to his wife Asma at a polling station during a referendum on the new constitution, in Damascus, Syria, on Sunday Feb. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/SANA)</i>

  • March 15, 2012

    The U.N. estimates 8,000 people have been killed in the conflict. <i>In this March 9, 2012 citizen journalism image provided by the Homs City Union of The Syrian Revolution, smoke rise from a building that was shelled by the Syrian army, at Jeb al-Jandali neighborhood in Homs province, central Syria. (AP Photo/Homs City Union of The Syrian Revolution)</i>

  • March 25, 2012

    The UN raises the estimated death toll in Syria's conflict to 9,000. <i> This image made from amateur video and released by Shaam News Network Saturday, March 24, 2012, purports to show smoke rising after rockets fell in the Khaldiyeh area of Homs, Syria. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video) </i>

  • March 27, 2012

    Syria accepts a six-point peace plan offered by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

  • April 9, 2012

    Syrian forces fire into a refugee camp across the Turkish border. <i>In this Monday, April 9, 2012 photo, Syrian refugees are seen in camp in Reyhanli, Turkey. (AP Photo/Germano Assad) </i>

  • April 12, 2012

    A U.N.-brokered ceasefire takes hold. Regime forces stop assaults, but fail to retreat from city centers. <i>Pro-Syrian government demonstrators hold a rally at Sabe Bahrat Square to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the Ruling Baath Arab Socialist Party in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, April 7, 2012. (AP Photo Bassem Tellawi) </i>

  • April 14, 2012

    The U.N. Security Council approves a resolution to send observers to Syria to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire.

  • April 21, 2012

    The UN sends 300 observers to Syria for three months to monitor the "ceasefire." <em>In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a UN observer and Syrian army officer, left, listen to Syrian citizens during their visit to the pro-Syrian regime neighborhoods, in Homs province, central Syria, on Monday April 23, 2012. (AP Photo/SANA)</em>

  • April 25, 2012

    A rocket attack on the city Hama kills 69, including some children. <em>In this image made from amateur video released by the Ugarit News and accessed Wednesday, April 25, 2012, purports to show Syrians standing in rubble of damaged buildings from Syrian forces shelling in Hama, Syria. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video) </em>

  • April 27, 2012

    An explosion in the Midan neighborhood of Damascus, Syria kills 11 and injures 28. <em>Syrian investigators, right, gather next to a damaged police bus that was attacked by an explosion in the Midan neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, on Friday April 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)</em>

  • May 7, 2012

    Parliamentary elections are held. While the regime sees the elections as an indication of its willingness to concede to democratic reforms, the opposition dismisses the elections as a sham. <em>In this photo taken during a government-organized tour, Syrian campaign workers wait outside a polling station during the parliamentary elections, in Damascus, Syria, Monday, May 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman)</em>

  • May 10, 2012

    Two explosions near a military intelligence complex in Damascus killed 55. <em>Syrian inspectors investigate the crater in front of a damaged military intelligence building where two bombs exploded, at Qazaz neighborhood in Damascus, Syria, on Thursday May 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)</em>

  • May 25, 2012

    A massacre occurs in the village of Houla, where 108 people were killed. Activists blamed the regime for the massacre, although the Syrian government denies all responsibility. <em>This frame grab made from an amateur video provided by Syrian activists on Monday, May 28, 2012, purports to show the massacre in Houla on May 25 that killed more than 100 people, many of them children. (AP Photo/Amateur Video via AP video)</em>

  • More explosions in Hama kill scores more. <em>In this citizen journalism image provided by Sham News Network SNN and according to them, purports to show the bodies of Syrian children in Mazraat al-Qubair on the outskirts of Hama, central Syria, Thursday, June 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)</em>

  • June 12, 2012

    The head of the UN peacekeeping operations, Herve Ladsous, calls the Syria crisis a "civil war." <em>A Nepalese human rights activist holds a placard against the human rights violation in Syria as they take part in a protest organized by the Amnesty International outside the United Nations office in Katmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)</em>

  • June 22, 2012

    Syria shoots down Turkish warplane, for which Syrian President Bashar Assad expressed regret. <em>In this April 29, 2010 file photo, a Turkish pilot salutes before take-off at an air base in Konya, Turkey. (AP Photo/File)</em>

  • June 26, 2012

    Assad announces that his country is in a state of war. <em>In this image taken from TV Syria's president Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview in Tehran, Iran, Thursday June 28, 2012. (AP Photo/IRIB TV via APTN) </em>

  • July 6, 2012

    General Manaf Tlas, son of Mustafa Tlas and a member of Assad's inner circle, defects and flees to France. <em>In this Feb. 22, 1971 file photo, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mustafa Tlas (front row, 2nd from right) and Air Force General Naji Jamil (1st right) surrounded by other members of Parliament on election day in Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo, File)</em>

  • July 11, 2012

    Nawaf al-Fares, Assad's ambassador to Iraq, defects and joins the Syrian opposition. <em>In this Sept. 16, 2008 file photo provided by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Nawaf Fares, left, is sworn in as Syria's ambassador to Iraq before Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem in Damascus. (AP Photo/SANA, File)</em>

  • July 12, 2012

    Up to 200 people, most of them civilians, are killed in the village of Tremseh. The massacre is condemned by the international community. <em>In this citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network SNN, taken on Saturday, July 14, 2012, a woman holds a child in front of their destroyed home in Tremseh, Syria about 15 kilometers (9 miles) northwest of the central city of Hama. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)</em>

  • July 18, 2012

    Former Defense Minister Hassan Turkmani, Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha, and Bashar Assad's brother-in-law Major General Assef Shawkat are killed in a bomb attack on Damascus. <em>This undated combo image made of 3 photos released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows former defense minister Hassan Turkmani, left, Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha, center, and Bashar Assad's brother-in-law Major General Assef Shawkat, right, in Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/SANA)</em>

  • July 12, 2012

    Activists say more than a hundred people were killed in the village of Tremseh, near the city of Hama. <em>In this citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network SNN, taken on Saturday, July 14, 2012, a woman holds a child in front of their destroyed home in Tremseh, Syria about 15 kilometers (9 miles) northwest of the central city of Hama. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)</em>

  • August 6, 2012

    Syria's prime minister Riyad Hijab defects and flees to Jordan. <em>Riad Hijab, Syria's defected former prime minister, speaks at a press conference at the Hyatt Hotel in Amman, Jordan, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012. (AP photo/Mohammad Hannon)</em>