“The Kurds withdrew because the conference rejected an item that says the Kurdish people must be recognized,” said Abdel Aziz Othman of the National Kurdish Council. “This is unfair and we will no longer accept to be marginalized.”
Sixteen months into an uprising against Assad, the failure to rally Syria’s disparate religious and ethnic groups behind a united leadership will make it more difficult to secure international recognition.
“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,” said an opposition activist, 27-year-old Gawad al-Khatib.
Assad has clung on far longer than other Arab leaders who faced popular uprisings, in part due to his willingness to use overwhelming force but also because of divisions among his population, the opposition and the international community.
Russia, Syria’s longtime ally, opposes U.N. action proposed by Western powers. The United States and European powers have themselves shown no appetite for military intervention of the kind they used in Libya.
A diplomat from the meeting’s host, the Arab League, said the often “chaotic” opposition had made progress by agreeing on documents outlining principles to shape a new constitution and guide any transition.