"The biggest danger in Syria at the moment is fragmentation. And that it is terribly dangerous because, if we go into leaving it as such and not maintaining… the sovereignty of the country in unified way, we may get a thing to Balkanization or a chronic Balkanization [of the region]," de Mistura said at the 54th Munich Security Conference.
According to de Mistura, he sees for the first time in four years that large countries are directly involved in the conflict in Syria, and "this can lead to incidents," adding, "there are large movements of troops, but these are responsible countries and I am sure they will behave responsibly," he added.
"We need a comprehensive political process, we are talking about elections under UN supervision," Mistura said. "This will prevent [the emergence of] a new Daesh as a result of fragmentation, this will give a chance to the political process."
The armed conflict has continued in Syria since March 2011, with government forces fighting numerous opposition factions and terrorist groups. The settlement has been discussed at peace talks in Astana and Geneva, as well as the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue, which took place on January 30 this year in Sochi.
"Balkanization" is a geopolitical term used to describe a break-up of a region or state into smaller and often hostile units.