United Nations-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Syria on Thursday, his first trip to the country since taking up his post, pledging to work to end violence in which more than 27,000 people have been killed.
Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat who replaced former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, will meet Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem on Thursday and is due to meet President Bashar al-Assad for talks aimed at addressing the conflict.
"There is a crisis, no one denies it," he said on arrival in the Syrian capital. "It is a crisis which is deteriorating, and no one disagrees with the need to stop the bloodshed and restore harmony.
"We hope to contribute to (ending the violence) during the days and weeks ahead," he said.
Brahimi's spokesman said he would hold talks with the government and "representatives of the Syrian opposition and civil society" during his visit.
(Reporting by Marwan Makdesi; Editing by Janet Lawrence)