MADISON (WKOW) -- The embattled Syrian president held a referendum on a new constitution Sunday.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is calling the event "phony."
A UW-Madison Middle East Studies faculty associate Jennifer Loewenstein says Bashar Assad's regime is oppressive and tyrannical.
Activists say at least 29 people have been killed, most of them in the city of Homs.
Loewenstein says more than 6,000 civilians have died since uprising began last month.
Loewenstein says the choice of whether to arm the opposition right now, should be carefully thought through.
"That gives the current Syrian government under Assad every reason to continue hitting back violently militarily," said Loewenstein.
Experts point even if the rebels are armed they could never match the overwhelming firepower in the hands of Syrian regime, and it might result in a bloodbath, which is why there is so much pressure for a diplomatic solution.