"Until the Arab Spring, nothing had stirred in Syria in nearly three decades. President Hafez al-Assad and his murderous younger brother Rifaat had made an example of Hama in 1982 when they stamped out a popular uprising by leveling much of the city and slaughtering thousands. Now, the circle is closed. President Bashar al-Assad and his younger brother Maher, commander of the Republican Guard, are determined to subdue this new rebellion as their father did in Hama—one murder at a time. In today's world it's harder to turn off the lights and keep tales of repression behind closed doors, but the Assads know no other way. Massacre is a family tradition."
“Assad is operating on the assumptions that time is not working against him, that his army will succeed in suppressing the demonstrations even if they continue for longer than anticipated and that even if Turkey or other states sever ties with Syria it will still be able to count on cooperation from Iraq, Iran and Russia. Another assumption, presumably correct, is that Syria will not be subject to a Libya-style international military onslaught. Assad's Syria has endured periods of severe diplomatic isolation in the past. With the UN draft resolutions intended, for now, only to censure the acts of suppression, without imposing additional sanctions, Assad can ignore the threat.”