Long road to freedom: Seven reasons why Syrian protesters have so far failed to topple Assad

Physical repression isn't the only reason Syrian protesters have suffered serious setbacks. Middle East expert Bilal Y. Saab of The University of Maryland gives us seven other factors that explain why things might get worse before they get better for the Syrian opposition in its quest to topple Assad.

2. Armed insurgency

That the Syrian people have been demonstrating peacefully since the start of the uprising is a remarkable fact that has not gone unnoticed by the international community. However, it remains open to question how long the opposition will remain peaceful in its tactics. Should the showdown with the regime drag on, some protesters may start to feel disillusioned and could be tempted to use violent means.

If peaceful protests morph into full-fledged armed insurgency or if domestic or foreign militants start hijacking the protesters’ non-violent message, this could hurt the opposition’s cause as well as the chances of a positive outcome. The international community has serious concerns about the total collapse of order in Syria. Time is a factor in this war of attrition, and it may not necessarily be on the protesters’ side.

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