The United Nations on Monday raised the estimated civilian death toll in embattled Syria to 5,000, a figure that far exceeds previously reported figures of 4,000, dpa reported.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today told the UN Security Council in a closed-door meeting that the situation was intolerable and was tantamount to crimes against humanity.
The country has for eight months been in the throws of civil unrest against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle was at UN headquarters Monday in New York to lobby for a Security Council resolution.
"I was really shocked about what I heard - 5,000 people," he said.
He said the international community must act: "This is what we owe to those who are under repression now, and who lost their lives. ... It's really time for those countries who are still hesitant to act on Syria."
China and Russia, which are veto-wielding permanent members, have so far resisted action against Damascus.