Al-Assad's rallying cry is that only he can protect the country's minorities: Christians like the man I met at the airport, Alawite like himself, about 15% of the population. He keeps the ethnic Kurds, a little less than 10%, on his side by courting their biggest tribes.
It's a tactic that's working. The Kurds don't back him, but they haven't turned against him as they did against his father. The Alawites who make up most of the officer corps in the army are still loyal, as are the Christians.[...]
Several Westerners with detailed knowledge of the country expressed their frustration with the opposition, too. Why don't they reassure the minorities they won't face retribution once al-Assad is gone? they ask.
Svårt dilemma för en utomstående betraktare. Om Assad faller kommer Iran att förlora en stark allierad. Hizbollah kommer bli mer isolerat. Men det muslimska brödraskapet kommer troligen att få styra över ännu ett land, vilket innebär att Mellanösterns kristna måste fly från ännu ett land.
För den som är intresserad av vad som händer i Syrien rekommenderar jag twitterkontot @syriennyheter.