The international community should have aided Assad in return for democratic reforms
With the onset of violence following wide scale protests in 2012, Assad should have been aided to stabilise the country by the international community. But this should have come at the cost of a diplomatic agreement, whereby democratic reforms would take place, under international supervision. Then, following country wide stability, the possibly that Assad's regime would oversee the ceding of power to a democratically elected party could take place peacefully.
Regardless of Assad’s position and background, he did aim to reform Syria and failed. The international community should have offered support for this, rather than standing back to observe the situation and hoping for the deposition of Assad. Helping an enemy reform a country should take precedence over watching a dissent into violence, in the hope that this enemy will be removed. Avoiding war and violence should be of more importance than anything. And minimising this should happen from day one.
Moving forward all sides (including the international involvement that may be at odds from one another) should back the old government in return for an open free democratic election to be held and Assad should then stand trail for war crimes. If the international community stand together the pressure should allow Assad to take the better option rather than wait around and prolonging the inevitable.