had lost their lives since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011.
Even that high number was considered a conservative estimate with the real death toll likely to be much higher, he said.
He said the advance of Islamic State (IS) militants into central Syria had taken violence against civilians to a whole new level as the group continued to commit horrific atrocities against those opposing its rule.
There had also been an increase in the use of barrel bombs by Government forces in Aleppo while militants had cut off the water supply to an area for displaced people, also in Aleppo, on several occasions.
That kind of collective punishment was clearly a breach of some of the most basic principles in international humanitarian law.
Overall, nearly 11 million people are in need of aid in Syria and 4.7 million of them live in areas that are hard to reach.
There are still some 241,000 under siege in various locations. Laerke informed that the UN has now sent nine shipments to Syria from neighbouring countries and more are planned over the following month.
UNHCR said there are worrying signs that the journey out of Syria is becoming tougher, with many people forced to pay bribes at armed checkpoints proliferating along the borders.
Refugees crossing the desert into eastern Jordan were being forced to pay smugglers hefty sums (ranging from $100 per person or more) to take them to safety.
Ms. Fleming said that UNHCR is also deeply concerned for the well-being of several hundred Syrians trapped inside a refugee camp in Al Qaim, Iraq, after UN agencies and international nongovernmental organizations were forced to abandon their offices and warehouses.
While donors had contributed more than $4.1 billion to successive regional response plans since 2012, more than $2 billion more is needed by the end of 2014 alone to meet the urgent needs of refugees. "The response to the Syrian crisis has been generous, but the bitter truth is that it falls far short of what's needed," Guterres said. - APP