U.N. Says Syria Death Toll Has Topped 5,000

More than 5,000 people have reportedly been killed in a months-long uprising in Syria, the United Nations human rights chief said.

U.N. Rights chief Navi Pillay said in a report to the U.N. Security Council that the figures exclude members of the Syrian military. The death toll largely includes civilians and defectors. Calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad started in March following the successful protests in Egypt that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. The protests started peacefully but have since turned for the worse with allegations of violent dispersals by al-Assad’s forces.

Most of the violence has occurred in towns outside the capital Damascus, including in the province of Homs, where a pipeline reportedly exploded on Monday. More deaths were reported on Monday, with the activist organization Local Coordination Committees saying that at least 16 people were killed by security forces in Homs and the province of Idlib.

The U.N. Security Council has called for calm in the country, but is restrained from playing a more active role due to opposition from Russia and China.