Immediately after his first meeting with president Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, the new UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi had a warning for the world: the Syrian crisis, he said, is now a dangerous threat to peace.
Brahimi, a well-known Algerian diplomat, was named in August to replace Kofi Annan as UN-Arab League peace envoy to Syria. Despite having described his mission as almost impossible, the veteran UN mediator went to work immediately and held numerous meetings. He is now in Syria for the first time since his nomination.
The Syrian conflict, described now as a "civil war" by most international organisations, including the Red Cross, has cost the lives of thousands upon thousands of Syrians, including 5,000 fatalities in the city of Homs, one of the hardest hit by the actions of the government.
Lakhdar Brahimi recently described the destruction in the country as "catastrophic", but now, immediately after his talks with the Syrian president, he warned that the crisis is deteriorating and is presenting a clear threat to the region, the Syrian people and to the world.
He promised he would do "his best" to help the citizens of Syria, but could not at this point give any details on his efforts.