The United Nations has appointed the experienced Algerian diplomat and Nobel peace laureate Lakhdar Brahimi as the new international mediator on Syria.
Officials say he is due to arrive in New York next week where he will meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to discuss a fresh approach to Syria.
As a senior Arab League official Brahimi brokered an end to the Lebanese civil war and has twice been the UN’s top envoy for Afghanistan.
His appointment comes as the UN observer mission in Syria prepares to leave, saying they can do no more at present. Members have arrived back at the headquarters in Damascus ahead of leaving the country.
The plan is to keep a small liaison office in Syria to support any future efforts to secure peace in the war-torn country.
But for the moment the conflict continues unabated.
Rebels claim to have fought off an attempt by the Syrian army to take over the northern Turkish frontier post of Bab al-Hawa.
They say a regime convoy was heading towards the area when they attacked it on the Hazzano highway 12km north of Idlib.
Video obtained appears to support the claim but cannot be independenty verified.