Daniel Pipes, founder and president of U.S. think tank, Middle East Forum says it is a mistake for western countries to directly intervene in the Syrian conflict.
An academic who's taught at Harvard and Princeton Universities, as well as the U.S. Naval College, Dr. Pipes says the Assad regime is nearing its end but there's no guarantee that groups perceived as being former regime loyalists will not suffer violent reprisals at the hands of forces aligned to the Free Syrian Army.
His comments come as unverified video is released showing the bodies of Assad regime employees being thrown off the top of a government building while a large group of rebel fighters and supporters cheer and shout out anti-Assad slogans.
Dr. Pipes agrees with recent assessments of the U.S. State Department, that Al-Qaeda operatives have infiltrated Syrian opposition ranks. While his critics call him an anti-Islamist, he says the Islamist element within the opposition means the shape and the possible outcome of the Syrian uprising could be different to those in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
Even if the Assad regime were to fall he has warned of ongoing violence fuelled by elements within the Sunni majority desperate to extract revenge after decades to Assad rule.
Dr Pipes is in Australia at the start of a two week lecture tour.