But, Mr. Hague said, Assad is still at heart a reformer and could choose to make concessions to protesters' demands, the Guardian reported.
"President Assad has made two major speeches on reform in Syria — one of them was in the eyes of most of us too weak and the other one was too late but nevertheless he has made those speeches and committed himself to important reforms," said Hague. "It is not too late for him to say he really is going to do those reforms and additional reforms." …
"We will urge them to do the right thing. It is not too late for them to do so. They are being urged to do so by many other countries including in our own region and I appeal to them again to respect the legitimate grievances and not to engage in this repression and violence against their own people."
In an opinion piece for POLITICO, former State Department official Aaron David Miller argues that there is a "growing chorus" in Congress and elsewhere that Assad is not a reformer. He observes that the Obama camp is divided on how to proceed, and that the steps so far indicate more of a "whack-a-mole" approach than a coherent policy.