The upcoming presidential elections will be no different from previous elections under the Assad regime. Even if the elections were democratic and transparent, Bashar al-Assad would win based on his constitutional powers alone.
While the establishment of people's courts and peace councils in the Kurdish region of Syria are positive, the boundaries between party, civil society, and state structures have becomed blurred and could be problematic.
With its leadership elections officially due to take place in July 2014, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is bracing to overcome internal divisions in order to elect its new comptroller general on time.
Supporting schools inside Syria is essential. Education is particularly important for civil society to flourish, and strengthening civil society within the country may give students a sense of normality back.
The ceasefires in the Yarmouk refugee camp were imposed solutions. It would be a grave mistake to understand these agreements as an example of genuine reconciliation.
The Syrian regime's siege of the Yarmouk refugee camp has changed the course of the conflict and strengthened the hand of the government.
If the Syrian regime recaptures Old Homs, it will further cement Bashar al-Assad’s grip on an area of Syria he truly cannot afford to relinquish.
The rebel stronghold in the Old City of Homs, which has withstood nearly two years of government siege and shelling, is close to falling.
The former Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda has become an important driving force behind the global jihad, in its current guise as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
Competing regional agendas continue to drive the two leading Kurdish actors in the region apart and because of this, they cannot agree on a joint policy to aid the Syrian Kurds.
Villages, towns, and entire farming regions in Syria are being depopulated by violence, social breakdown, and economic collapse; they may never again be able to sustain a population of the size they held before 2011.
The regime's removal of a military intelligence chief of the southern Syrian city of Sweida after protests led by Druze religious sheikhs indicates that the position of the regime in the city is not as strong as it once was.
The emergence of the Sham Legion, a moderate Islamist rebel group, may be a significant political development because, until its formation, only more conservative and Salafi-oriented brigades had managed to merge into ideologically coherent countrywide alliances.
While the ideology, politics, and public messaging of the rebel factions making up the Islamic Front have been streamlined effectively, initial hopes for closer organizational and battlefield unity have not yet borne fruit. Five months after its creation, the Islamic Front seemingly remains a rather wobbly umbrella movement.
Until Iran and all the other governments currently fanning the flames of war in Syria have accepted that no peace plan can work without a critical mass of armed actors on both sides, Syria’s slow collapse into Somalia-style anarchy will continue.
Since the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant a year ago today, the rivalry between Iraqi and Syrian militant leaders has grown into a full-blown jihadi civil war.
Made up of thousands of fighters, the Mujahideen Army dominates a chunk of the strategically important countryside west of Aleppo and exerts influence over at least some of the main supply routes from Turkey to Aleppo.
Many Syrians are well-aware of the role that major powers could play to determine the outcome of the war, but the public is divided on its support for the West. The United States and NATO are neither fully embraced nor universally reviled.
It is far too early to tell whether it will have any impact on the ground, but a new Syrian rebel leadership is finally taking form after the splits of this spring.
Syria’s oil and gas resources are too small to be considered a prize in the struggle over the country’s destiny, but energy issues still play an important part in the conflict.