Seven years ago, when the Syrian authorities responded violently to a civil demonstration, the coalition government had several choices:
- do nothing, but advise Assad that he risked destroying his nation if he continued to overreact with force;
- go into Syria with sufficient force (including ground forces) to affect régime change;
- incite a rebellion which had no chance of success without external support.
Sadly, our government chose the third. At least the UK and the US stepped back from the threat of merely crippling Assad's defences, which would surely have led to a Daesh dictatorship in Damascus far worse than any other in the Middle East.
As it is, much of the country including many historic sites has been laid waste, long-established communities have been brutalised and the standing of both Russia and Iran has been improved, which is surely not what the West would have wanted.