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Noah Feldman

Lessons From a Dark Year in Syria

Sometimes injustice wins.
This is what Assad's victory looks like.
Photographer: GEORGE OURFALIAN/AFP/Getty Images

The fall of Aleppo at the close of 2016 signals an especially depressing future for the civil war, the region, and the vast number of refugees within Syria and beyond. For all practical purposes, the end of this battle means that the Syrian dictatorship has, with Russian help, won its war for survival.

However, there is no clear path for the Assad regime to wipe out the last of the rebels.So fighting will continue, and a rump Syrian Sunni statelet will persist. And because displaced Sunnis will remain deeply wary of going home to places now controlled by the hostile regime, the long war's refugee problem may become permanent. That's no small matter. In scope it dwarfs the Palestinian refugee crises of 1948 or 1967.