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 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)

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