By Samuel Burke, CNN
As Turkey launched retaliatory air strikes against Syria for a second day on Thursday, thousands of demonstrators marched on
Istanbul shouting “no to war.”
On Wednesday, Assad forces in Syria shelled a Turkish border town, killing five civilians in their home.
In recent weeks the Turkish people have grown critical of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's support for the Syrian opposition – partially because of what detractors say are bad elements that come with the flood of refugees entering Turkey.
Turkey has said it has no interest in a full-scale war, though parliament held an emergency session and voted to authorize military action. Turkish troops are now taking up positions in Akçakale, the Turkish town that Syria shelled Wednesday.
Syria has apologized for the escalation, but still the world watches anxiously.
Lakhdar Brahimi is the man charged with finding a solution to Syria’s civil war. He is a veteran Algerian diplomat, now serving as the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria. His experience in peace-brokering has taken him all over the world - from Lebanon’s civil war to South Africa, Haiti and Afghanistan.
In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Thursday, Brahimi said Syrian officials have asked him to convey to Turkey that the shelling was unintentional and they regret the loss of life.
Brahimi says the Turks expressed to him that these types of incidents have been escalating for some time, and that Turkey wants to be “absolutely certain” that they don’t happen.
Brahimi signaled to Amanpour that the Syrian civil war has the potential to escalate into a broader regional conflict.
“I have been saying for a long time that you never can contain a problem within the borders of one country,” he said.
Indeed, the crisis has already spilled over Syria’s borders. There are now hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, in Iraq, Turkey and Jordan – in addition, Brahimi said 1.2 million people are displaced within Syria.
Despite calling it a “mega problem,” he said the U.N. still does not have a plan to end the bloodshed.
“Very bluntly, no, I don’t have a plan. A plan does not exist,” Brahimi told Amanpour. “I could write a plan now, but a plan that is accepted by the parties inside Syria by what I call the countries and people who have interest – the situation is not ready for it”
Brahimi says they are waiting for the relevant parties to understand that no military solution currently exists. And with a deadlocked U.N. Security Council, an international accord seems far out of reach – Brahimi says he is still talking with Russia and China about a possible solution.
“The time to talk about reform has passed. People want change, real change, complete change,” Brahimi says.
He last spoke to Assad on September 15.
“In our region, they don’t trust us anymore,” he said of the Middle East. “People have been disappointed by us.”
“They want to be in charge of their destiny - their own affairs to be decided for themselves.”