The heavy casualties that Assad's army endured the last three years have led him to substitute local defense forces that in some cases are degenerating into gangs that prey on those they are supposed to defend:
A new class is emerging in Syria of warlords who have grown rich with the money they have earned from kidnapping ransoms and theft. Their rise has led many to believe that President Assad cannot control his own militia anymore.
"We used to think that this was intentional to terrify people who dared oppose his rule, but the problem now is that this savagery is targeted against his own people, even amongst the Alawites," said the Damascus resident.
Members of minority groups feel Mr Assad can no longer protect them.
In many areas that have been attacked by radical Islamist rebels, residents have been left to defend themselves after the army pulled out.
The failure of the government to target the jihadis in order to draw in Western support to attack the jihadis is also noted, with Assad supporters unhappy with bearing the brunt of that strategy for regime survival.
And there is mention of that Tabqa air base debacle in the east that has prompted calls to talk to the jihadi enemy to get whoever survived the battle and subsequent slaughter of prisoners released.
Assad's supporters or his military forces could break yet. If even security forces have degenerated to some extent to thinking about every man for himself, why shouldn't Assad's supporters look for the exits to save themselves rather than suffer from jihadis and those "protecting" them from jihadis?