Speaking on Voice of Russia, Carnegie Moscow Center's Peter Topychkanov discussed the ongoing clashes between opposition supporters and government troops in Syria in light of Italy and Germany’s call for a response from the UN Security Council.

According to Topychkanov, the future of the Syrian opposition movement is “difficult to predict” but he warned that it is possible the situation will escalate into civil war. He argued that there are two factors hindering the current opposition—the lack of political leadership and the external influence of Iran.

The Arab League’s decision to suspend Syrian membership was a mistake, Topychkanov added, because it cut off a crucial platform for discussion and negotiation with the Assad regime. He also noted that for NATO, the Syria situation is a more challenging case than that of Libya because of the strong Syrian defenses and indirect participation of Iran in the region.

The worst of the crisis is not over, concluded Topychkanov, and the unrest inside the country will only be resolved with regime change and the end of violent internal conflicts.