Earlier this week the Economist noted that Syria was “growing steadily less peaceful”. Today, the slow collapse has become a grim slide.Last night, Ha’aretz ran this headline: “Assad losing control as 10,000 soldiers desert Syrian military”. Other would-be deserters were not so lucky: On Monday, reports circulated that scores of soldiers were machine-gunned by their former comrades as they tried to defect to the opposition, according to survivors.Despite recent desertions, Assad still commands the loyalty of most of the armed forces, especially including the well-armed Syrian Republican Guard. Damascus and Aleppo, centers of support for the Assad regime, have yet to experience the scale of the turmoil and violence that has been the norm in cities like Homs. Yet the resistance is getting stronger: even in Damascus, rockets have been launched at Army vehicles, according to Ha’aretz.As Arab League civilian observers enter the country this week, Assad’s forces have been evacuating wounded protestors and rebels from hospitals to prevent them from testifying. The Butcher still clings to power and the facade of control. But it is slipping from his grasp: The increasingly desperate regime will from now on use the death penalty against anyone found materially assisting rebel fighters.The disintegration of the army will bring about the disintegration of the state. If Assad cannot stop the rot fast, he will soon be out of a job. Like his colleagues Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein before him, Assad could become a hated, hunted refugee in a land he once ruled.