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Syria: Disintegration and little sign of recovery

The brutal civil war is dragging on. It is a disaster for Syria's people, economy and oil sector

Bashar al-Assad's chances of survival have been growing of late, helped by the routing of opposition forces in the strategic town of Qusayr in May. His regime seemed destined to fall a year ago. Now the president and his forces are gaining momentum. The recent ratcheting up of international pressure on Damascus, with the White House announcing that the US would provide direct assistance to the Syrian rebels, reflects a growing sense that the Baathist regime - cushioned by Russian and Iranian support and now the direct intervention of Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia - is now able to consolidate territory under its hold. In June, state forces  were said to be preparing to take on rebels in th

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