DAMASCUS - International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Syria on Thursday on his first visit to the strife-torn country since his appointment two weeks ago, his spokesman said.
"During his visit to Syria, Mr Brahimi will hold talks with the government and with representatives of the Syrian opposition and civil society," said a statement from Ahmad Fawzi, who had previously announced that the veteran diplomat would meet President Bashar al-Assad.
Brahimi was to start his three-day visit by meeting Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Thursday at 6.30 pm (1530 GMT), a Syrian foreign ministry official said.
He is also set on Friday to meet members of the Syria-based opposition, which is tolerated by the regime, an official source said.
Brahimi took over from former UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan in early September, after the failure of a six-point peace plan to put a stop to the bloodshed in Syria.
The diplomat arrived in Syria accompanied by Mokhtar Lamani, who will remain in Damascus to assume his new functions as head of office for the Joint Special Representative for Syria in Damascus, Fawzi said.
Brahimi said early this week that he knows he faces "an extremely difficult task," with no sign of any lull in the violence ravaging the war-torn country for nearly 18 months.