UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has arrived in Syria on his first visit to the war-torn country since his appointment two weeks ago, his spokesman has said.
"During his visit to Syria, Mr Brahimi will hold talks with the government and with representatives of the Syrian opposition and civil society," said Thursday’s statement from Ahmad Fawzi, who had previously announced that the veteran diplomat would meet President Bashar al-Assad.
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Brahimi was to start his three-day visit by meeting Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Thursday, a Syrian foreign ministry official said, how ever the meeting has now been pushed to Friday.
"We came to Syria to consult with our Syrian brothers," said Brahimi said on arrival at the airport in Damascus.
"There is a crisis in Syria and I believe it is getting worse.''
He is also set on Friday to meet members of the Syria-based opposition, which is tolerated by the regime, an official source said.
Brahimi took over from former UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan in early September, after the failure of a six-point peace plan to put a stop to the bloodshed in Syria.
The diplomat arrived in Syria accompanied by Mokhtar Lamani, who will remain in Damascus to assume his new functions as head of office for the Joint Special Representative for Syria in Damascus, Fawzi said.
Brahimi said early this week that he knows he faces "an extremely difficult task," with no sign of any lull in the violence ravaging the country for nearly 18 months.