Lakhdar Brahimi, the new UN-Arab League envoy on Syria, told the BBC Monday that he was deeply pessimistic as his chances of brokering a truce in the war-torn country.
Brahimi, who was appointed after his predecessor, Kofi Annan, resigned, described his mission as "nearly impossible."
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The United Nations Human Rights Council estimates some 20,000 have been killed since the onset of the Syrian revolt, in March 2011.
The conflict soon escalated into a full-scale civil war, forcing an estimated one million Syrians from to flee their homes.
Aleppo in ruins (Photo: AFP)
"I'm coming into this job with my eyes open, and no illusions," Brahimi told the BBC.
"I know how difficult it is - how nearly impossible. I can't say impossible – (it is) nearly impossible."
A former Algerian foreign minister, Brahimi was named the envoy to Syria after holding a series of key UN positions, including heading missions to Afghanistan and Lebanon.
Analysts say he has a formidable reputation at the UN and his appointment was widely welcomed.
Brahimi, on his part, admitted some trepidation about his new mission: "I'm scared of the weight of responsibility.
People are already saying people are dying and what are you doing? And we are not doing much. That in itself is a terrible weight," he said.
The seasoned diplomat told the BBC that he "has so far failed to see any cracks in the brick wall that had defeated Mr. Annan," namely the Syrian government.
Brahimi said he intends to keep Annan's six-point peace plan for Syria "in his tool box," despite the fact that many have come to see it irrelevant.
He added that the need for political change in Syria was "fundamental and urgent": "Change cannot be cosmetic. There will be a new order but I do not know who will be the people in the order. That's for Syrians to decide."
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