After 23 months the Syrian civil war has become an increasingly volatile stalemate with no end in sight.
" Just as loyalist forces seem unable to regain control of the country, there looks to be little chance the rebels can storm the center of Damascus and attack the seat of Assad's power ," writes Samia Nakhoul of Reuters.
This week rebels have captured the country's largest dam and several strategic army bases in the north while surrounding the last remaining government-held city in the east and even breaching the regime 's outer barriers east of Damascus.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has consolidated his troops — bolstered by troops from Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah — near fortress-like bases in Damascus and the western provincial capitals while Syrian jets bomb rebel-held areas at will.
" The continuation of violence won't lead to the downfall of the regime, it will lead to the seizure of the country by armed gangs , which will pose a grave danger not only to Syria but to our neighbors," leading opposition figure Hassan Abdel-Azim told Reuters .
Radical jihadists are gaining control of more food and water as they attempt to establish a seventh-century style Muslim caliphate, meaning that the humanitarian crisis — 70,000 killed, 700,000 refugees, 2 million internally displaced, and 2.5 million people lacking food — will continue and borders will blur.
On the gates to Damascus, Assad's troops have put up signs saying: "Either Assad, or we will set the country ablaze."
At this point it appears Syria will burn anyway.
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