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Syria Death Toll Over 5,000, German Foreign Minister Says

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In this March 27, 2011, file photo, a Syrian woman reacts as she sits next to her son who was seriously wounded during a violence between security forces and armed groups in Latakia, northwest of Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)
In this March 27, 2011, file photo, a Syrian woman reacts as she sits next to her son who was seriously wounded during a violence between security forces and armed groups in Latakia, northwest of Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - German Foreign
Minister Guido Westerwelle said 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 U.N.
human rights chief Navi Pillay, but did not specifically say she
had cited that figure. Pillay was due to brief the U.N. Security
Council on Syria later in the day.

Pillay's latest public estimate - earlier this month - was
more than 4,000 killed.

German officials said Westerwelle had intended to say 5,000.

(Reporting by Patrick Worsnip; editing by Anthony Boadle)