November 23, 2015:
There are no winners in Syria but plenty of losers. The country has been devastated. What Syria has lost since 2011 includes some 300,000 dead and over 700,000 wounded or injured. Some 55 percent of the population needs of some kind of aid (food, medical, fuel, shelter). About 35 percent of the population has been driven from their homes meaning they have no jobs and lost most personal property. Since 2011 life expectancy has been cut from 75 to 62 years. Half the school age population no longer have access to a school. Over four million Syrians have fled the country, mostly to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. GDP has shrunk by at least half since 2011 and over 70 percent of the population reduced to poverty.
The economic damage can be seen in satellite photos which show that, compared to similar nighttime pictures from 2011, only about 20 percent of the lights are still visible at night. Many of the Syrians who fled the country (over 20 percent so far) will never return. There is little to return to in part because some Islamic terror groups admit that they are not attacking towns and villages in order to occupy them but simply to hurt the troops or pro-government militiamen guarding them. The rebels loot and trash the places they take and then depart before the government can organize a counterattack (by land or air). These raids also look for people worth kidnapping and holding for ransom. There are still many Syrian families with assets, although most of these are living in government controlled territory (about a fifth of the country). But there are still people you can get a decent ransom for so this is yet another reason for people with any resources to get out of Syria. What assets the family has are often then spent on smugglers who will get all or some of the family into Western Europe, where jobs and public assistance are available.
The UN is having little success in getting access to nearly five million refugees inside Syria. Over ten percent of these refugees are literally under siege by government or rebel forces. For the rest road access passes through government and rebel territory. Most of the Syrian population now depends on food aid to survive. The Assad government is surviving, in the fifth of the country it controls, largely because of aid from Iran and Russia.
ISIL (al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant) has become a major presence in Syria since 2014 and controls most of eastern Syria. ISIL is at war with the government and the other rebels because it believes it is on a Mission From God that supersedes everyone else. ISIL is adding to the misery Syrians are suffering and causing more destruction by their own efforts as well as the growing number of bombs the rest of the world is dropping on them. All wars end eventually but in Syria there is not even a hint when this one will.