UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said on Tuesday his peace plan could be the "last chance" to avoid civil war in Syria, where a truce has failed to end 14 months of bloodshed that monitors say has killed nearly 12,000 people.
Annan told the UN Security Council he had particular concerns that torture, mass arrests and other human rights violations are intensifying.
Regime forces "continue to press against the population," the envoy said, despite a putative truce that started on April 12, but attacks are more discrete because of the presence of UN monitors, diplomats said.
Annan briefed the council on his efforts to get President Bashar al-Assad to implement his six-point peace plan, which he said was possibly "the last chance to avoid civil war."
He stressed, however, that the peace bid was not an "open ended" opportunity for Assad, the diplomats who attended the briefing said.
Annan updated the UN body on the status of his six-point plan, including the observer mission, a day after UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned world powers are racing against time to prevent all-out civil war in Syria.
Speaking on Monday, Ban again condemned the "brutality" of Assad's forces but said attacks by opposition groups have also "escalated."
"We are in a race against time to prevent full-scale civil war -- death on a potentially massive scale," Ban said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said almost 12,000, the majority of them civilians, had died since the revolt broke out in March 2011.
The Britain-based watchdog said of the total, some 800 had died since the truce technically went into effect.
On Tuesday, at least six civilians were killed.
The unrest has persisted despite the presence of UN observers monitoring the truce and parliamentary elections on Monday as part of the government's pledge to implement reforms.
The opposition boycotted the vote, denouncing it as a sham and which the United States said was "bordering on ludicrous."
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was losing hope for a solution and urged the UN to bolster its observer mission to up to 3,000 rather than the 300 authorised under a Security Council resolution.
"The UN should bolster its mission to Syria with up to 3,000 observers to give a full picture of the situation in the country," Erdogan said while on a visit to Rome.
"We need 1,000, 2,000, maybe 3,000 observers, a major mission so they can visit the whole country and see what is happening," Erdogan said.
"We support the Annan plan but if someone were to ask me what my hopes are, I would say I have lost hope."
There are only around 60 UN observers in Syria, although the team is expected to grow to 300 in the coming weeks.
The United Nations has accused both the Syrian regime and rebels of violating the truce, and China urged all parties to honour their commitments.
"All parties in Syria must abide by their ceasefire commitments, support and cooperate with the work of the UN supervision team, to create the conditions to launch an inclusive political process as soon as possible," Yang said.
The government said turnout was high in the election that marked the first time Syria has held a vote since the adoption in February of a new constitution allowing for multi-party polls.
"Millions of Syrians defied terrorism and chose their representatives in parliament," said the pro-government daily Al-Watan, which estimated voter turnout at 60 percent.
The regime frequently blames unrest on "armed terrorist groups."
The opposition dismissed the vote as a ploy by the regime to buy time and dupe the international community into believing it is serious about reforms.
Meanwhile, Western sanctions on Syrian oil exports have cost the country nearly $3 billion dollars (2.3 billion euros) in losses, Syrian Oil Minister Sufian Allaw said.
"The petroleum sector has suffered significant losses due to sanctions, and Syria has reduced its production," he said in a statement.
Production has been reduced by a total of 35 million barrels since the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions in April last year, he said.
Amid the strife, humanitarian needs continue to grow, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday as it appealed for 20 million euros ($26 million) to step up its aid to Syria.
The group has been working alongside the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to bring humanitarian relief to about 1.5 million people affected by the bloodshed.
The ICRC is providing monthly food parcels for about 100,000 people in particular need, president Jakob Kellenberger said.
Source: AFP Global Edition