"In late July, the Syrian president gave his first public speech in a year and acknowledged that his regime was depleted and had ceded territory to "the terrorists" - referring to anyone who has joined the insurgency. Assad's public concessions came at a time when both United States President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin were worrying about the Assad regime's possible collapse.
Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in 2011, the Obama administration has publicly called for Assad to step aside, while doing everything in private to foreclose that possibility, and in effect, tacitly endorsing the Assad regime.
Obama said that the opposition was "disorganised, ill-equipped, ill-trained". He stated that the moderate opposition was made up of "farmers or dentists", among others, who all lacked fighting experience, and that it was "magical thinking" to believe that an earlier US involvement could have led to a peaceful transition. All of these points contain partial truths, but they also contain self-serving myths. The Syrian opposition was disorganised and ill-equipped because it was not externally supported the way al-Qaeda was. Much of the moderate opposition consisted of civilians firing guns for the first time, but it also included thousands of Syrian army defectors and civilians who had once been conscripted.
Obama's refusal to confront Assad and support the opposition allowed the Syrian president to set in place a motion of events that gave rise to ISIL. Assad released Islamist militants from prison to flood the opposition with battle-hardened religious fanatics. His sectarian militia, the shabiha, openly cleansed Sunnis from their villages, driving them into the arms of jihadist groups for protection. Assad reportedly bought oil from ISIL, ignored them on the battlefield, and was even accused by the US state department of being ISIL's air force. The conditions that gave rise to ISIL's terrorist state were, therefore, supplied by Assad's military strategy and Obama's lack of one.History will not be kind to those whose actions and inaction led to the Syrian people's ruin. And while this generation may be lost to the squalor of the refugee camp and terror of daily bombardment, a future generation will remember what was done as their fathers and mothers met the most undignified of ends."