At least 60,000 have been killed during Syria's brutal conflict, a "truly shocking" number, the United Nations said on Wednesday
UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said the figures, based on an analysis, were "much higher" than anticipated.
"Given there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013.
At least 60,000 have been killed during the Syria conflict, the UN said
"The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking," she said.
Pillay's spokesperson Rupert Colville told the Associated Press the death toll was likely to be even higher, saying: "There are many names not on the list for people who were quietly shot in in the woods...
"Collectively, we have fiddled at the edges while Syria burns."
The UN's analysis shows the numbers killed every month were steadily increasing.
The figures are much greater than those estimated by activist groups. The London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights put the death toll at just over 36,000 for 2012, and 45,000 since the conflict began.
In comparison, around 800 people are thought to have died during the Egyptian uprising, according to figures from the Arab Network for Human Rights Information.
In Libya, Cherif Bassiouni, of the UN Human Rights Council estimated 10,000-15,000 people had been killed in the uprising against Gaddafi.
In March 2011, what had been a peaceful protest against the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad turned into a bloody conflict.
The country has since descend into civil war, with the Syrian Network for Human Rights saying there had been 115 deaths across Syria on Wednesday, including 13 children, 5 women, and 23 killed under torture.
UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned the toll would worsen, saying the "pace is increasing" in Syria.
Last month the head of Syria's military police defected and reportedly fled to Turkey.
Lt Gen Abulaziz al-Shalal announced his decision speaking in a video released on YouTube.