Civil wars are always long fought and bitter. And they are also inevitably great humanitarian disasters because civilians are always targeted in one way or another. That is why the prospect of ending a civil war would normally be welcome, especially a civil war as brutal and ruinous as the one in Syria. But unfortunately, if Assad does win, that may not necessarily be the beginning of the end of the humanitarian disaster. There are good reasons to fear that if Assad finally wins the conflict, that may be only the end of the beginning of the human tragedy.
Both Assad and his key ally, Putin, have every interest in keeping Syria a humanitarian hellDr. Azeem Ibrahim