A March 2011 UN Security Council resolution authorized military intervention in Libya and gave a green light for NATO to mount an operation to protect civilians that led to former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s ouster and death at the hands of rebel forces.
No Western nations have called for something similar in Syria, while Russia has vowed to prevent a similar move in Syria.
There may be no swift end to the war and even if the opposition were to prevail, it is unlikely to bring stability.
“The Syrian civil war is likely to go on for years,” said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “It is not just that it is proving harder and taking longer to oust the [al-]Assad regime than many expected, it is also that even if the regime were to be removed, what would follow would be a prolonged round of fighting among opposition forces, who disagree on just about everything except their opposition to the current regime.”
Additional reporting by Dominic Evans in Beirut