The new United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is making his first official visit to Syria, saying the crisis there is getting worse.
Brahimi met Thursday with Syrian Foreign Minister Waleed Mualem and plans to hold talks Friday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Friday. He also is expected to meet with members of the Syrian opposition who are fighting to overthrow Assad.
Brahimi has called his job to help arrange a cease-fire and start talks on a transitional government "nearly impossible."
The U.N. Security Council is deadlocked over Syria. Russia and China have vetoed efforts to impose tough new sanctions against the Assad government. The United States does not want any military involvement in Syria, and there has been almost no progress in uniting the fragmented opposition to form a viable alternative to Assad.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday in Baghdad, though, that the Assad government is "doomed." He said it should not be allowed to survive because of what he calls the many crimes committed against the Syrian people.
Eighteen months of fighting between government forces and rebels has killed about 20,000 people, mostly civilians. U.N. officials say the war has driven more than 1 million people from their homes.
Timeline of Syrian Unrest