Former Algerian foreign minister and longtime U.N. diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, 78, has agreed to take over as peace envoy to Syria, after former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan announced earlier this month that he would be stepping down from the position. Brahimi, who is known as a "strong-willed, independent broker," has also served as a U.N. envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq. Brahimi brings to the job a long history of working in the Arab and Islamic worlds, which the U.N. hopes will help him broker peace in Syria, where an estimated 18,000 people have been killed since March 2011, in an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
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