An Arab League-sponsored conference in Cairo aimed at uniting the fractured Syrian opposition ended in chaos Tuesday when the Kurdish delegation stormed out.
Some witnesses report fistfights and loud arguments. The Kurds complained that they are being marginalized as the opposition tries to unite in preparation for a post-Assad Syria.
The delegates did issue a final statement agreeing that the violence in Syria has to stop, and that the government of President Bashar al-Assad cannot remain in power if there is to be a political solution.
Earlier Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford reported “significant prioress” at the Cairo meeting.
The United States has been reluctant to help the Syrian rebels, in part because U.S. officials do not know who is in control of them.
Nuland also said President Assad is running out of money. She said he has gone through a big chunk of Syria’s sovereign wealth keeping the war machine afloat. Nuland said sanctions have brought inflation and are hurting Mr. Assad’s ability to import goods needed to sustain the state.
Also Tuesday, Human Rights Watch issued a new report accusing the Syrian government of torturing and abusing detainees at 27 facilities across the country.
The group’s UK director David Mepham says victims claim they have been electrocuted, burned with acid and sexually abused. Human Rights Watch calls the torture crimes against humanity. It urges the United Nations Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court.