The problem here is, as it is in many of these Middle Eastern dictatorships, is that the solution is worse that the problem.
I have relatives in Syria, and years ago, one of them was a “guest” in one of Hafez Assad’s prisons for awhile, in that he was politically active. Despite that, he remained a supporter of the Assad regimes.
Why? Because if you remove Assad, the result is ethnic cleansing. We can debate Assad until we are blue in the face, but unless you have a solution that keeps the Christian, Jewish, and Alawi minorities alive……screw them all. Seriously.
In Syria, it is generally assumed that the 12% of the population that is Christian and Jewish are responsible for about 50% of the country’s GDP. So, you have an additional aspect there, the fact that any government that does NOT defend those minorities will create not just a humanitarian crisis where the Christians and Jews are slaughtered, after which the Kurds, Sunni, and Shia go after each other for the foreseeable future, but an economic crisis along with attendant starvation as well.
We went after Hussein and spent a decade of blood and treasure trying to stabilize Iraq, and largely failed. We went after Qaddafi and ended up with a failed state and safe haven for terrorists. We failed to support Mubarek on much the same grounds as you levy against Assad, the result being a fundamentalist government followed by a military revolution and dictatorship.
At some point, you’d think we’d learn. But I guess we’re not very bright people.
There are no solutions here, other than stabilizing the country and forcing an Iraq-style election on the people with Assad allowed to run. How embarrassing it would be to depose him, hold elections, and then have Pew polling tell you that Assad is still the most popular leader in the country?