The international envoy to Syria has warned that as many as 100,000 could die in the next year if a way cannot be found to end the country's civil war quickly.
Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League envoy for the Syrian crisis, told reporters in Cairo that if the crisis continues, Syria will not be divided into states "like what happened in Yugoslavia" but will face "Somalisation, which means warlords, and the Syrian people will be persecuted by those who control their fate".
Since starting his job in September, Mr Brahimi has sought to advance an international plan, reached in Geneva six months ago, that calls for an open-ended ceasefire between rebels and government troops and the formation of a transitional government to run the country until elections can be held.
Over the past week Mr Brahimi went to Damascus where he met President Bashar al-Assad then flew to Moscow, one of Syria's closest international allies, where he discussed ways of ending the country's crisis.
Activists say more than 40,000 people have been killed in the 21-month-old conflict.