03/15/2012 03:21 pm ET Updated May 15, 2012

UN says well over 8,000 dead in Syria uprising

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that well over 8,000 people have died in Syria over the past year as a result of the government's bloody crackdown on protesters.

The U.N. chief raised the death toll from 7,500 in a statement Thursday, marking the first anniversary of the uprising.

Ban said the "brutal repression" by Syrian authorities is continuing unabated and called the status quo "indefensible," according to U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky.

"Well over 8,000 are dead as a result of the government's decision to choose violent repression over peaceful political dialogue and genuine change," the Nesirky said. "It is urgent to break the cycle of violence, stop military operations against civilians and prevent a further militarization of the conflict in Syria."

Ban urged the government and opposition to cooperate with international envoy Kofi Annan to stop the bloodshed and find a political solution, Nesirky said.