I'm inclined to believe what Our (former) Man in Damascus has to say on the matter:
All this spin reflects a fundamental failure to understand the nature of the situation in Syria. Bashar al-Assad is a figurehead, not a dictator on the pattern of Saddam Hussein, or even his father. If he were to leave for any reason he would be replaced in a twinkling of an eye by some Alawite general. What some outside observers fail to realise is that the Alawites, having run a very tough police state for 40 years, simply cannot afford to lose power. If they were to do so, they believe that they and their families would be massacred. They may well be right.
On the other side, the rebels fear that, if the present regime were to be left in place, then the secret police would be after them in a flash and they too would suffer a terrible fate. Quite apart from this mutual fear there is, regrettably, now a deep seated desire for revenge by many of those on both sides who have suffered so terribly.
Let those who still think Western intervention could be remotely helpful in this dreadful situation make their case on Monday evening. I suspect that they will struggle to do so.
Sir Andrew Green is the former Ambassador to Syria. He will be speaking at the next Spectator Debate on 24 June, debating the motion ‘Assad is a war criminal. The West must intervene in Syria’ with Malcolm Rifkind, Douglas Murray, Dr Halla Diyab and more. Click here to book tickets.