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Al Assad needs to put Syria above himself

President's lust for power is costing lives and pushing country towards civil war

Gulf News

One year on, the uprising in Syria is going full steam. More cities are joining the protest movement and the country is rapidly sliding into civil war. The regime's opponents are growing aggressive and carrying out attacks on government troops and installations.

The regime, meanwhile, has been committing unspeakable crimes against its own people who dare to challenge its absolute authority.

It is absurd on the part of the regime to think that the uprising will just die down without a real and tangible change in the system. The calls for political and social reforms and economic equality have long gone. The majority of the protesters are now calling for a total regime change. The regime and its supporters, in Syria and on the international arena, don't seem to get that message.

The alternative is clearly a civil war that will certainly threaten the territorial integrity of Syria and divide its society along sectarian and religious lines.

The Arab League and the United Nations have gone the extra mile in trying to stop the violence and bring about a rational and peaceful settlement to the crisis. They both have managed so far to fend off all calls for foreign military intervention. But other players are pushing hard for it and trying to overcome the strong resistance of Russia and China.

However, it is not about the game of nations or international alliances. It is about the Syrians who are being massacred every day — the children and women whose throats were slit in Homs a few days ago.

President Bashar Al Assad needs to think of that and make the right call. He either goes down in history as the man who destroyed his country, with all the potential regional fallout or as the leader who sacrificed his own interests to save his country.

This is the moment of truth and it's his call.