The death toll in the Syrian government crackdown is now "certainly well over 7,500," a top UN official said on Tuesday, adding that more than 100 civilians are now often killed each day.
B Lynn Pascoe, UN under secretary general for political affairs, told the UN Security Council that the international community's failure to "stop the carnage" was encouraging the Syrian government to believe that it can act with "impunity."
Pascoe said it was impossible to give exact casualty figures for President Bashar al-Assad's deadly assault on protesters.
"There are now credible reports that the death toll now often exceeds 100 civilians a day, including many women and children. The total is certainly well over 7,500."
Syrian rights monitors say more than 7,600 have been killed over the past 11 months, but this is the biggest toll given so far by the United Nations.
Pascoe said the pounding of Syrian protest cities with tank and rocket fire was "reminiscent of the Hama massacre perpetrated by the Syrian government in 1982." Tens of thousands are said to have died in the massacre which was ordered by the President's father, Hafez.
"Unfortunately, the international community has also failed in its duty to stop the carnage, and actions and inactions to date have seemed to encourage the regime in its belief that it has impunity to carry on wanton destruction of its own civilians," Pascoe told the 15-nation council in a briefing on the Middle East.
Russia and China have vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions condemning the Syria violence. But diplomats said talks could soon start on a new resolution demanding humanitarian access in Syria.
Some 25,000 refugees are now registered with the UN in countries around Syria and between 100,000 and 200,000 are now internally displaced, Pascoe added.