UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday called on the Security Council to consider reducing the number of unarmed military observers in Syria and put more stress on political efforts to end the conflict.
Ban recommends in a report that the mission in Syria with a likely "reduced military observer component" be redeployed to the capital Damascus, from regional cities where the conflict has grown in recent weeks.
The divided Security Council must make a decision on the future of the United Nations operation by July 20.
The UN leader says the mandate for the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) should stay the same but the focus should move away from monitoring a ceasefire that has never taken hold.
"If UNSMIS were re-oriented in this manner, the mission would redeploy from the field to the capital to minimize risks, retaining core civilian and military observer capacities to focus on the spectrum of initiatives feeding into the political process," said the report.
"From a central hub in Damascus, the civilian component would continue liaison and dialogue with opposition and government representatives in the provinces as security conditions allow."
Activists say more than 16,500 people have been killed in Syria in the past 16 months.