The government continues to dominate the fighting but also remains unable to put the resistance out of business, which means that the warfare and horrible casualties -- including many civilians -- continue. The total dead is hard to ascertain but it is estimated to be above 5,000 since the struggle began months ago.
The Tunis meeting itself settled nothing. Al-Asad regime supporters China and Russia did not attend. The senior U.S. representative present, Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, rose to new heights of rhetoric in excoriating them for their support of the Syrian regime, but there is no question that the measures the world has adopted against it, including heightened sanctions by European Union countries, are weakened by the fact that China and particularly Russia, which has even sent arms to the government, have not joined them.
The Arab League itself is divided on the subject betweeen Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon which have stayed with the al-Asad regime, and Persian Gulf and other states, led by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which favor military action to bring the al-Asad regime either into line or down. Algeria sees the international anti-Asad movement as a Western plot; Lebanon's government is subject to influence by Damascus, directly or through Hezbollah, which plays an important role in its government. Iraq, which in principle should still be under heavy U.S. influence, sees Syria as a fellow country resisting U.S. hegemony.
So the United States and the world are left with the appalling spectacle of the Syrian regime and its security forces continuing to slaughter its own people in defense of an unpopular, religious minority regime while the world stands by, staying its hand, more or less helpless.
No one wants to wade into the Syrian maelstrom with their own national forces. It would mean fighting Syrian government forces, estimated at 220,000, fairly well armed, and probably united in resisting a foreign invasion, particularly by Americans.
Second, it is not clear what, if anything, would succeed an al-Asad regime in Syria. At present the opposition to the current government is divided, disorganized and shadowy in its composition. There is the Syrian National Council, the Free Syrian Army, the Syrian National Coordination Committee, and a new body, the Syrian Patriotic Group. Al-Qaida does not appear to be in the picture, but no one is sure that it wouldn't be an element in a successor regime. The current chaos in post-Gadhafi Libya and the growing disorder in Iraq are cases in point for not tipping over one government -- even a bad one -- without knowing what comes next.