Close to 5,000 people have now been killed in the Syrian government's crackdown on protests, UN rights chief Navi Pillay told the UN Security Council on Monday.
More than 14,000 people are estimated to have been detained and 12,400 have fled into neighboring countries, according to details of her briefing to the Security Council, obtained by AFP.
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The UN has information that more than 200 people have been killed by President Bashar Assad's forces since December 2. And with new weekend deaths "it is my estimation that the total number of people killed since the protests began earlier this year is now close to 5,000. This situation is intolerable," she said in her prepared remarks.
The Security Council held a closed-door briefing on Syria and the rest of the Middle East with western nations stepping up pressure for the 15-nation body to condemn the violence.
Protest rally in Syria (Photo: EPA)
Russia and China vetoed a resolution on the Syria crisis in October.
French Ambassador to the United Nations Gerard Araud said that the UN Security Council has a "moral responsibility" for events in Syria.
Araud noted that "France and the other members of the UN Security Council think that the Council's silence in the matter is outrageous."
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Monday he understood 5,000 people had now been killed in Syria's crackdown on a nine-month-old uprising - a higher figure than other recent estimates.
"I am really shocked about what I heard about the atrocities in Syria. Five thousand people were killed, civilians, people who ask for their freedom and civil and human rights," he told reporters.
Westerwelle was speaking after talks in New York with Pillay, but did not specifically say she had cited that figure. Pillay was due to brief the UN Security Council on Syria later in the day.
Pillay's latest public estimate - earlier this month - was more than 4,000 killed.
AFP and Reuters have contributed to this report
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