Speaking on the BBC, Frederic Wehrey commented that both the Syrian regime and the rebels have become increasingly brutal in their tactics. After the rebels' assassination of top officials in Damascus, Assad has decidedly increased the draconian crackdown against the protesters and rebel forces. Wehrey noted that “this is a regime that has ruled through fear and an iron fist. Assad is calculating that if he shows any sign of capitulation or weakness that it’s his downfall, it’s a slippery slope.” Moreover, Assad may believe that this civil war is still winnable, Wehrey added. He is surrounded by his own supporters and views himself and his regime as the protectors of the Alawi community. He is protected by the elite Republican Guard Corps, commanded by his brother. With both the rebels and the regimes forces continuing their brutality and evolving their tactics, Wehrey concluded that, for the moment, all signs point to a protracted struggle for the future of Syria.