Security Council diplomats say international envoy Kofi Annan is telling the U.N.'s most powerful body that "unacceptable levels of violence and abuse" are continuing in Syria.

The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because Annan's videoconference briefing from Geneva on Tuesday was closed, said the U.N.-Arab League envoy reported fewer large-scale military operations and said the presence of U.N. military observers and interventions in several instances appear to have had a calming effect.

But the diplomats said Annan stressed that much more remains to be done, saying government troops are still present in and around cities and towns, and citing extensive human rights violations, insufficient progress on humanitarian assistance, and "denial of the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people."