The war in Syria seems to be winding down nearly seven years into the conflict, largely because of Russian-backed government victories and local cease-fires aimed at freezing the lines of conflict.
Underscoring this perception is the fact that President Bashar Assad — however battered and bruised — has survived the war, sitting more comfortably now than at any time since the rebellion against his rule erupted in March 2011.
Yet Syria is still a tangled mess, with fighting likely to continue for the foreseeable future and the parties no closer to reaching a peace settlement, despite the stepped-up diplomatic efforts.
The opposition — down but not out — has not completely abandoned its goal of toppling him militarily. Meanwhile, another humanitarian catastrophe unfolds in a government-besieged just outside Damascus.
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