The UN has selected veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi as the special envoy to Syria, barring any misgivings by major international governments or Brahimi . . . the Syrian military is sending reinforcements to Aleppo, including tanks and heavy artillery, as well as militia fighters . . . the rebels, meanwhile, say they are preparing for a new assault on the city . . . UK foreign secretary William Hague says London will provide an additional £5 million in “non-lethal assistance” to the Syrian rebels, while the US announced it is preparing new sanctions against Syria and those assisting the Assad government . . . Brahimi is a highly experienced diplomat who has served as special envoy to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and South Africa, but will face difficult negotiations in Syria . . . President Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly agreed to peace plans but broken the provisions shortly after signing . . . both Assad and the rebels remain committed to a military victory in the country which completely eliminates the other side . . . fighting in Aleppo has reduced the city to rubble as the two sides refuse to implement a cease fire.