The newly appointed peace envoy said Assad is resolute and sees war as a foreigner-fed plot.
UNITED NATIONS - The newly appointed peace envoy to Syria gave a bleak assessment of the stalemated war there on Monday, telling Security Council diplomats that the government of President Bashar Assad had no wish to change and that there was no immediate prospect for a diplomatic breakthrough.
The assessment of the envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, a veteran U.N. diplomat and former Algerian foreign minister who represents both the U.N. and Arab League, was his first to the Security Council since he took over the position at the end of August from Kofi Annan, who resigned in frustration.
Brahimi spoke on a day of fierce Syrian government attacks on the Syrian city of Aleppo, with anti-government activists reporting at least eight people, including four children, killed by shelling of residential buildings.
The Security Council meeting was private, but diplomats said afterward that Brahimi had told them that Assad's government appeared entrenched in its belief that the conflict is a foreign-instigated plot and that Assad wants to return the country to the political structure that existed before the uprising against him broke out in March 2011.
Speaking later outside the council chambers, Brahimi said, "All I can tell you is that the situation is indeed extremely difficult. There is a stalemate, there is no prospect today or tomorrow to move forward."
Still, in a glimmer of optimism, he said, "Now that I have found out a little bit more about what is happening in the country and the region, I think we will find an opening in the not-too-distant future. I refuse to believe that reasonable people do not see that you cannot go backward, that you cannot go back to the Syria of the past. I told everybody in Damascus and elsewhere that reform is not enough anymore, what is needed is change."
Brahimi visited Damascus last week and met with Assad, and said then that the crisis was deteriorating and that he had not yet formulated a plan to stem the violence. He reiterated at the U.N. that he still does not have a plan.
Brahimi also was stressed that reducing the violence in Syria isn't possible unless the world body is united on a way to end the 18-month conflict.
"You all say you support me individually, why don't you support me collectively?" Brahimi told the gathered ambassadors when he briefed the Security Council, according to a diplomat in the room who wasn't authorized to speak about the meeting.
"It shouldn't be very difficult," the envoy told them.
Annan, Brahimi's predecessor, also placed some blame on the Security Council when he resigned from the position after less than six months, citing a "clear lack of unity" in the council as well as the "finger-pointing and name-calling."
The Security Council has been deadlocked for more than a year as Russia and China have protected Assad from censure in resolutions brought by the United States and allies. Russia in particular has made it clear that it won't allow a U.N. resolution to become the basis for military intervention, as happened in Libya in 2011.
The Washington Post contributed to this report.