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Syria envoy Brahimi holds first meeting with Assad

Encounter marks fresh push for an internationally-mediated end to the crisis in Syria.

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Representatives of the Syrian opposition tolerated by the regime (L-R) Akram Akrami, Raja Nasser, Mahmud Marei, Hassan Abdel Azim and Mahmud Said Rassas wait to meet with international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus on September 14, 2012. Brahimi also met Syrian opposition figures whom said he were bringing 'new ideas' to peace efforts as blasts rocked Damascus. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

The new United Nation-Arab League Syria envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, met for the first time with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus today as part of renewed efforts to end 18 months of violence that has killed over 27,000 people there, reported Reuters.

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Brahimi, who was appointed August 17 following the resignation of frustrated former envoy Kofi Annan, today described the situation there as "dangerous and getting worse," calling it "a threat to the Syrian people, the region and the world," according to BBC News.

He vowed to make a "great effort to make progress" on the conflict, BBC said, but did not elaborate further. 

Many Western countries have openly called on Assad to relinquish control and move toward a peaceful transfer of power, but international efforts to end the conflict have been complicated due to the nation's alliances, which appear to have prompted a proxy war between various geopolitical powers.

The veteran diplomat, currently in his first Middle East trip since taking on the job, earlier told BBC that trying to find a solution to the violence in Syria -- where Assad has been locked in a vicious battle against an armed insurrection -- will be "nearly impossible." 

Brahimi also held talks today with the opposition figures. His arrival comes amid increasing bloodshed in Syria, with reports of overnight attacks in Damascus and ongoing fighting in Aleppo, Homs and Deir al-Zor, said Reuters. 

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 160 people were killed throughout the country on Friday, according to Reuters, a report that could not be independently confirmed. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120915/syria-envoy-brahimi-holds-first-meeting-assad