The death toll in Syria has risen by another 1,000 in 10 days, according to a United Nations report yesterday.
The findings deepened divisions within the UN over how to respond to the crisis. On top of those figures, scores more deaths were reported.
Navi Pillay, the UN Human Rights Commissioner, said more than 5,000 people had been killed since the uprising against President Bashir al-Assad began in March.
At the beginning of the month, the total stood at 4,000. That does not include deaths from among Assad's security forces. Ms Pillay said 300 of those killed had been children. About 14,000 rebels were in prison, many tortured, and 12,400 had fled the country.
"Independent, credible and corroborated accounts demonstrate that these abuses have taken place as part of a widespread and systematic attack on civilians," she told the Security Council.
She called for the regime to be referred to the International Criminal Court, as happened with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
A dispute flared between Russia and the West over the measures being taken against its Middle Eastern ally.
Gerard Araud, the French ambassador, said: "It is scandalous that the council, because of opposition from some members, has not been able to act to exert pressure on the Syrian authorities."
The Russians hit back but America urged them to support the Security Council measures.
Despite the UN outrage, diplomats say the regime is prepared to ignore the West.
Last night Syria reacted furiously to the revised death toll.
Syria's ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, hit back fiercely, saying Ms Pillay's appearance before the council on Monday was part of a "huge conspiracy concocted against Syria since the beginning". He added that Ms Pillay had "trespassed her mandate".
In Syria yesterday there was no let-up in the killings. A total of 28 people were killed across the country, according to reports.
Adib Shishakli, a leading member of the Syrian National Council, an umbrella opposition group, said the West could help by offering "logistical" support to regime opponents.
"So far the only response we have got has been boycotts and embargoes, but nothing is stopping the killing," he said. "It's obviously not enough." (© Daily Telegraph, London)