Peace is best achieved through daily attention and regular work. When a situation gets to a point of chaos, the effort to get back to where peace was lost is even greater. In Syria the areas that are in chaos need to understand that peace is now on both the government and the peoples shoulders.
To get back to how society was a year ago, a ceasefire agreement must be produced. Such a thing can not take place without the two sides talking. Since the current government of Syria has stated they will not hold talks with the opposition forces, an option is Shuttle Diplomacy. This is what the United Nations Envoy is there to do so he best get on with it.
Pick a date to work towards implementing the ceasefire agreement. As that date draws near there must be a communication campaign that will keep the transition period as open as possible. People have to know what to expect when the guns stop. For those that have not experienced a ceasefire transition, the silence is very unnerving yet calming at the same time.
Protests and chaos will take place. However the need for order is an absolute. This has to be planned out and executed with as much perfection as possible. The right people must be used to bring order and it certainly can not be government forces, unless you want the ceasefire agreement to get cancelled. One option is the use of the Observer Forces and this must be a part of the ceasefire agreement.
As the days pass and the ceasefire agreement holds, the international aid organizations can go in do the assessments and write the policy options. The people in the conflict areas need to be tasked with cleaning up the mess, this will keep them occupied while the ceasefire is held. Also it provides a spark that the conflict is improving.
There are elements that must be held in check and these are the desire to finger point, claim victory and fall into the trap of blame. What needs to take root is the peaceful understanding that everyone is to blame, there is no victory in war and the finger can only point back into your own eye.
Government forces need to pull as far back as possible. If any force is needed it must be an unarmed force. Also the weapons that are held by opposition forces must be checked and cleared. There will be less chance of breaking the ceasefire agreement if the weapons are not there. A ceasefire agreement is a very unstable situation and often they are broken due to carelessness. Someone has to fire a shot first and that person has to be kept in mind concerning how fragile the situation is.
One last item that needs to be understood, peace does not take orders from a clock. We can set timelines but these must be flexible to allow for conditions to be ripe for success.
Syria is in a very difficult spot but with some assistance, peace will return.