Fights break out at Syrian opposition meeting
CAIRO, (Reuters) – A meeting of Syria’s splintered opposition in Cairo descended into scuffles and fistfights yesterday that dealt another blow to Western leaders seeking a unified front against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The meeting also failed to resolve many of the differences between the rival Syrian opposition groups, further complicating efforts to find a viable alternative to rule by Assad, whose forces have killed thousands of Syrian civilians and combatants.
“This is so sad. It will have a bad implications for all parties. It will make the Syrian opposition look bad and demoralise the protesters on the ground,” opposition activist Gawad al-Khatib, 27, said. A Syrian Kurdish group quit the meeting, provoking mayhem and cries of “scandal, scandal” from delegates. Women wept as men traded blows, and staff of the hotel used for the meeting hurriedly removed tables and chairs as the scuffles spread.
“We will not return to the conference and that is our final line. We are a people as we have language and religion and that is what defines a people,” said Morshed Mashouk, a leading member of the Kurdish group which walked out.
“The Kurds withdrew because the conference rejected an item that says the Kurdish people must be recognised,” said Abdel Aziz Othman of the National Kurdish Council. “This is unfair and we will no longer accept to be marginalised.”