Three years ago, Syria seemed it might be another domino in the Arab Spring uprising. Some Syrians took up arms to get rid of Bashar al-Assad and usher in a more democratic government in its place.
Friday marks the third anniversary of the Syrian uprising. And there's little to show for it, except death and destruction.
The civil war rages on in the country. Many have fled the country for refugee camps. The others are stuck in a war zone.
"Things stand grim," says Amr al-Azm, a professor of Middle Eastern History and Anthropology at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth Ohio.
The diplomatic process has gone nowhere, he says. The Geneva talks have stalled.
Al-Amz sees three reasons why the situation in Syria has turned out so badly.
For one, he says, the opposition "failed to create the necessary vision and strategies that would bring a large mass of the Syrian population who were undecided to its side and then topple the regime."
Second, according to al-Azm, the international community failed to address the Syrian conflict with the necessary seriousness that such a conflict needs.
But finally, the al-Assad government has to take the most responsibility for the war, al-Azm says. "The Syrian regime is primarily responsible for bringing about this catastrophe in the first place, using extreme force, bombs and chemical weapons to suppress the uprising," he says.
For now, though, there is no end in sight for the war. And the conflict is fanning violence in neighborhing countries, such as Iraq and Lebanon.
Al-Azm says it's painful to watch his country continue down the path of death and destruction. "It's frustrating to see the many things that I loved about Syria being destroyed," he says.
Al-Azm is an archaeologist and says his country's cultural heritage is being turned into rubble. "There's a deep sense of frustration that all this could have been avoided," he says.