In late 2010, Syria appeared to be the least likely place in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to experience any sort of unrest or popular uprising. The regime of Bashar al-Assad, one of the most repressive in the Arab world, seemed to be stable and in full control. It survived the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the fall out from the assassination of former Lebanese prime minter, Rafiq al-Hariri, and emerged stronger politically from the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. The March 2011 uprising came, therefore, as a surprise. Poor management of the crisis by local and regional actors led to one of the worst civil wars in recent history. With possibilities of finding a solution to the conflict dimming, Syria is sliding quickly towards becoming a failed state.
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