"The past few weeks have seen a dramatic shift in reports coming out of Syria. Whereas a month ago the government appeared to be losing the battle on all fronts, the civil war now seems to have entered a new stage - that of a race to the bottom in which victory hinges on endurance rather than strength.
Both the regime and the rebels are facing major challenges which threaten gravely their ability to function, and this explains in part the vastly divergent prognoses of different analysts. Meanwhile, as winter sets in and the death toll climbs (the latest United Nations report sets it at 60,000), civilians are paying the heaviest price. ... "