UN says death toll from Syria's civil war now above 100,000

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - UN leader Ban Ki Moon said on Thursday more than 100,000 people have now been killed in the Syria civil war, as he appealed for new efforts to convene a peace conference.

Mr Ban and US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters before talks at the UN headquarters that there could be no military solution to the 28-month-old conflict. While Syrian activists say well over 100,000 people have been killed, the UN has been more cautious about the toll.

But Mr Ban said: "More than 100,000 people have been killed. Millions of people have either been displaced or become refugees in neighbouring countries. We have to bring this to an end. The military and violent actions must be stopped by both parties, and it is thus imperative to have a peace conference in Geneva as soon as possible."

The United States and Russia have vowed to press for a follow up to a peace conference held in Geneva last year which set out a transition plan. Divisions between Syrian opposition groups and diplomatic hurdles thrown up by President Bashar al-Assad's government have blocked efforts to call a new meeting.

Syrian National Coalition president Ahmad Jarba is in New York on Thursday and was to hold talks with MR Kerry ahead of a meeting with UN Security Council envoys on Friday.