The new UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, has said the international community must work together to help resolve the conflict in Syria.

“The support of the international community is indispensable and very urgent. It will only be effective if all pull in the same direction,” said Brahimi in an address to the UN General Assembly, his first official speech since he replaced Kofi Annan as the special envoy to Syria.

“The death toll is staggering, the destruction is reaching catastrophic proportions and the suffering of the people is immense,” said Brahimi.

Brahimi was appointed as the new envoy in August, after Annan resigned from the post, claiming that the job was “impossible”.  

As Brahimi begins his new role, heavy fighting continues in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city. On 5 September, government forces shelled a number of districts in Aleppo, killing at least 54 people, according to media reports.

In August, President Al-Assad said that the battle in Aleppo was critical in deciding the outcome of the civil conflict.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 17,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March last year.