The new international envoy tasked with ending Syria's civil war says the country's conflict is a threat to world peace.

Lakhdar Brahimi also says the 18-month-old crisis is deepening and the gap between political parties is widening.

The U.N.-Arab League envoy spoke to reporters in the Syrian capital Saturday following his first meeting with President Bashar Assad. It is Brahimi's first visit to the country since taking up a job he himself has called "nearly impossible."

Brahimi replaced former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan who left the job in frustration in August after his efforts failed to stem a conflict that started in March 2011.

At the press conference Saturday, Brahimi said the civil war in Syria poses a threat to the Syrian people, the region and the "entire world."