Syria death toll surpasses 100,000
UN chief calls on Syrian government, opposition to halt the violence
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday raised the death toll in Syria's civil war to more than 100,000, up from nearly 93,000 just over a month ago.
Ban called on the Syrian government and opposition to halt the violence in the 2½ year civil war, saying it is "imperative to have a peace conference in Geneva as soon as possible."
The secretary-general spoke before talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who stood nearby.
"There is no military solution to Syria," Kerry then told reporters. "There is only a political solution, and that will require leadership in order to bring people to the table."
The United States and Russia are trying to convene an international conference in Geneva, along with the United Nations, to try to agree on a transitional government based on a plan adopted in that city a year ago.
Kerry said he talked to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday and that both countries remained committed to bringing the warring parties together to further peace efforts.
"We will try our hardest to make that happen as soon as is possible," Kerry said.
There are more than 1.8 million Syrian refugees, the UN says, and as many as 6,000 people are fleeing the country each day.
Last week, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres called on neighbouring countries that have been dealing with an inflow of Syrian refugees to keep borders open to those leaving the conflict-ridden country.
"I reiterate my call to all states, in the region and further afield, to keep borders open and receive all Syrians who seek protection," Guterres said.
Guterres noted, however, that the Syrian conflict was coming at a cost to the neighbouring countries hosting the ever-growing refugee population, saying "the warning signs of destabilization in some neighbouring countries are troubling. The continuing influx could send them over the edge if the international community does not act more resolutely to help."
The UN High Commission for Refugees says their projections suggest there will be a continued flow of refugees out of Syria for the rest of the year, with those leaving the country facing an "uncertain timetable for return." The agency said if the trends they've seen thus far continue, as many as three million people will have left Syria by the end of this year.
Many Syrians who have stayed behind are also facing humanitarian issues, the International Committee of Red Cross says, as people caught between government fighters and armed groups struggle to access regular supplies of food and water.
With files from CBC News