police used tear gas and batons to disperse a group of about 40 supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who tried to approach a congress hall in Istanbul where representatives of more than 70 nations gathered to discuss Syria.
Tensions escalated when another group, consisting of opponents of Assad, confronted the pro-Assad group. Police formed a barrier between the two groups and eventually sent the anti-Assad group away.
Many Assad supporters held portraits of the Syrian leader. One man waved Chinese and Russian flags in a show of sympathy for the two un Security Council member nations, which have blocked efforts at the UN to issue a resolution that calls for the departure of Assad.