The United Nations is sending a mission to four countries bordering Iraq to determine how many refugees are leaving the country and whether they are free to do so, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The U.N. Disaster Relief Organization (UNDRO) will lead the mission leaving Wednesday, the spokesman said. Other agencies involved will include the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Office and the World Food Program.The mission, being mounted from U.N. European headquarters, will visit Jordan, Syria, Iran and Turkey to check on the flow of refugees and the status of Iraq's frontiers.

In a related development, the all-Swiss International Committee of the Red Cross said it had not been able to make "significant contact" with civilians in Baghdad.

It also reported no contact with allied prisoners, who Iraq has said will be used as human shields.