U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper is describing the situation in Syria as an "apocalyptic disaster" and says pictures of torture victims are likely genuine.
Clapper told a U.S. Senate committee Tuesday that the war has killed more than 134,000 people and created nearly 10 million refugees.
Clapper said he has no reason to doubt that smuggled police photographs of tortured Syrian prisoners are real. He calls them "terrible" and says it is difficult to imagine they could have been fabricated.
Clapper told the senators that U.S. intelligence expectations from the current Syrian peace talks in Geneva are "pretty modest."
United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi described the talks Tuesday as laborious with little progress.
Brahimi said negotiators from the Syrian government and the opposition are doing their best to make the process "take off," but stressed that more cooperation is needed.