12/12/2011 03:32 pm ET

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

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

"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

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)


Timeline of events in Syria: