Recent defections could lead the Syrian regime and its Alawite supporters to entrench even further and potentially unleash even greater violence.
If diplomacy in Syria does not succeed, the depth and breadth of devastation will increase dramatically. International actors must act swiftly and decisively in order to avoid further escalation of violence in Syria and its neighboring countries.
Would focusing on transition (not regime change) bring the Russians back to the table over Syria?
The Saudi regime may be urging stronger international action in Syria, but it is clearly wary of the recent wave of domestic agitation calling for non-official involvement in the crisis.
The recent public protests in Moscow differ from those in December and March because so far, they seem centered in Moscow, while the previous protests were widespread throughout the country.
A no-fly zone in Syria could risk formalizing the fragmentation and divisions in the country.
As Obama and Putin prepare to meet at the G-20 summit in Mexico, the Syrian crisis is at the top of the U.S.-Russia agenda.
In case of unobstructed civil war in Syria, the division between Russian and U.S. policies toward Syria will most probably deepen, and the choices of these two countries will have serious international implications, including stronger Russia-China cooperation to counter U.S. foreign policies.
As the civilian death toll continues to mount in Syria, Russia finds itself stuck between a rock and a hard place.
All signs point to the crisis in Syria continuing, despite the increasing violence, as the international community is unable to formulate a unified approach.