The United Nations named a panel to investigate reports of human rights violations in Syria on Monday.
The world body’s Human Rights Council agreed to set up a three-member commission of inquiry.
“According to reliable sources on the ground, the number of those killed since the onset of the unrest in mid-March 2011 has now reached at least 2,600,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.
New video footage emerged purportedly showing ongoing clashes between government troops and protesters. Witnesses claimed at least 15 people were killed by soldiers on Monday near the flashpoint city of Hama.
Commentators said the anti-government uprising shows no sign of abating, despite a violent crackdown by Syrian security forces.
Meanwhile Russia rejected Western calls for wider sanctions against Syria, a day after France described the lack of a firm UN stance as a “scandal”.