With every tank attack, every city invasion, every militia formed, every protester felled, Assad is not reestablishing control over Syria, but losing it. Indeed, the Assads are losing Syria one bullet, one bomb, and one lie at a time. But if the people want to win Syria back, and not have it fall into some equally abusive hands, much work still lie ahead.
What can we offer Assad supporters when they are in a listening mode to break them away from junta in charge? That is one of the main questions that need to be addressed by oppositions groups and coalitions in charge of laying out a workable transitional plan for Syria. A workable transitional plan will not only facilitate the acceptance on the international scene of the opposition coalition who will produce it, but will also work as a much needed outreach tool to the Assad support base in view of weakening and dividing it.
The answer to this particular question, of course will vary depending on the individuals and groups involved. Security and army officers of various levels would want a general amnesty, clear and unambiguous, one that does not leave the door open for later prosecution. Such an offer would need to be made at a certain point, its wording and timing needs to be considered carefully. But timing is not the only critical factor here, there is also the important issue of credibility and legitimacy. Only people who have legitimacy and credibility with protest leaders and the international community are actually in a position to make such an offer.
Another aspect to this important question is the need for coming out with a vision for restructuring the security apparatuses and army divisions that does not leave the hundreds of thousands of people who directly and indirectly make their living out of these institutions penniless and unemployed. The issue of sectarian balances will be a major consideration here as well.
And this is just one example of the issues that need to be tackled as part of a well thought-out transitional plan. Rather than calling for new conferences and meetings, opposition groups are better advised to work on producing such a plan, the sooner the better, for all.