"moderate" factions... Yeah right, pull the other one. And please, keep passing the blame.. You wouldn't be you without that.
There's a very good documentary about this called "Return to Homs", which everyone should see: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt31...
It shows how secular protests turn into massacre and then to desperate fight for survival. They received no support from outside world, other than from the islamists (who had plenty of weapons and supplies, likely sponsored by such countries as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia). You can guess the rest.
Watch it and then come here to say that they had a choice. I think that most western young people can easily relate to people shown in the film. They are not that different from us.