BEIRUT (dpa) – The new United Nations envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, arrived in Damascus on Tuesday for his first visit to the country since assuming the post in July, his office in New York said Tuesday.
De Mistura arrived at the local UN offices, in the city’s Sheraton Hotel, amid heavy security, a UN source in Damascus told dpa.
The envoy is due to begin his three-day visit to the Syrian capital by meeting Syrian officials at the Foreign Ministry. He will later meet opposition figures who are tolerated by the regime.
A UN statement on Monday said the envoy will also embark on a first round of visits to other countries in the region.
It did not name the countries involved.
De Mistura was appointed in July to replace veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi.
Brahimi resigned in May, after two rounds of peace talks in Geneva failed to reach a solution to the Syrian crisis, which started with peaceful protests in 2011 and has since turned into a civil war.
In other developments Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a total of 2,782 civilians had been killed in government air raids in the province of Aleppo since the beginning of the year.
More than 190,000 people have been killed since the start of the crisis, according to the UN, while some 3 million of Syria’s 22.4 million population have fled to neighbouring countries.