International envoy Kofi Annan is holding talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus in a last-ditch effort to salvage his peace plan.

Annan is the architect of an international plan to end Syria's 16-month old crisis. He has acknowledged in a recent interview that the international community's efforts to find a political solution to the escalating violence in Syria have failed.

His talks with Assad on Monday were expected to focus on ways to salvage the six-point peace plan.

The plan was to begin with a cease-fire in mid-April between government forces and rebels seeking to topple Assad. But the truce never took hold. Almost 300 U.N. observers sent to monitor the cease-fire are now confined to their hotels because of the escalating violence.

Assad's meeting with the UN emissary came amid reports of extensive Syrian military drills, designed at repelling a simulated surprise attack.

The exercise began as a strictly naval one on Saturday, according to the official Syrian news agency SANA, with ground and air forces joining in on Sunday.

According to SANA, the second day involved artillery forces, special forces, and air forces.