Lakhdar Brahimi, a veteran envoy and diplomat, appears to want to avoid the pitfalls of Kofi Annan.
The appointment came in spite of a decision Thursday by the UN not to extend its observer mission in Syria.
Brahimi's appointment comes as the last UN observers trickle out of Syria.
Lakhdar Brahimi said the needs of the Syrian people for a new leader are legitimate.
New UN peace envoy reportedly interested in visiting longtime Syria ally Iran.
Lakhdar Brahimi warns of dire consequences if countries fail to contain the crisis in Syria.
UN peace envoy invokes Islamic holiday in ceasefire bid.
Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says cease-fire would facilitate longer peace talks in Syria.
Diplomat and former foreign minister of Algeria Lakhdar Brahimi speaks during a joint press conference with former US president Jimmy Carter following a meeting with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum on May 27, 2012.