Damascus: Syrians fearful of reprisals poured out of a northern town on Wednesday which is at the centre of anti-government protests  as pressure on President Bashar al-Assad byUN Security Council mounted up.

Some of those fleeing the town of Jisr al-Shughur sought sanctuary in neighbouring Turkey after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would not turn away Syrian refugees.

About 160 Syrians crossed in two separate waves on Wednesday which has taken the number of refugees to 550 who have taken refuge in Turkey in recent days, an AFP reporter witnessed.

The first group comprising mostly adult men, crossed through barbed wires at the border near the village of Guvecci in the Mediterranean province of Haiti, following some 120 others who arrived overnight.

A second group of some 100, mostly women and children arrived in the afternoon in Karbeyaz village, 30 kilometres north of Guvecci, and were then escorted by police to a refugee camp.

The large number of Syrians fleeing the country amid Assad's regime brutal crackdown on protesters is deeply worrying, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said.

"There are a number of Syrians who have crossed the border to enter Turkey ... and of course this is an area of enormous concern to us," Antonio Guterres told reporters in Stockholm.

Erdogan said earlier said om Wednesday that Turkey would keep its doors open to Syrians fleeing repression and renewed a call on Assad to introduce democratic reforms.

Syria's anti-government protests erupted in March and more than 1,100 civilians, including dozens of children have been killed in the ongoing crackdown, human rights groups say.

Damascus blames the  "armed terrorist gangs" for the unrest which is backed by Islamists and foreign agitators.

Agencies