The regime is clinging to the capital, Damascus, as rebels chip away at the military, according to regional analysts. And the rebels don't have the clout to go toe-to-toe with the government in the center of Damascus, according to senior analyst Joseph Holliday.
"It (the Syrian rebellion) will not be able to overthrow the Assad regime for the foreseeable future," wrote Holliday of the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.
But, he said, that doesn't mean a certain victory for al-Assad' forces.
"The regime does not have the forces required to hold all of Syria, and its control is steadily eroding across the country."
'We thought it would be over fast'
If this is a crossroads in the war, the road leading to it has been long and hard.
Syria's conflict began in March 2011, when protesters like Leena took to the streets to peacefully call for more freedom. They were inspired by Arab Spring demonstrations that toppled dictators in Egypt and Tunisia.
"I have to tell you, we thought it would be over fast," Leena said. "I never thought it would come this far. None of us expected to lose this many friends."
She pauses, her voice breaking.
"We ... knew the regime was strong, but not that ... fierce. I guess we did not expect how terrible it would be."
The most heinous acts man is capable of inflicting on others have happened in Syria.
Journalists, Syrians and human rights workers say the military has gone house to house and shot dead entire families.
Children, they say, have been abducted, tortured and killed and dumped on their parents' front door. There are allegations of underground torture facilities across the country.
The Syrian government denies it is targeting its own people, saying it has gone after "terrorists" that are seeking to overthrow the government.
While it's tough to pin down estimates of regime forces and rebel fighters, most analysts agree that the Syrian government still retains vast superiority in firepower over the rebel fighters.
Yet there's a "turning process" going on in Syria, according to analyst Jeffrey White, who recently visited the region.
"Morale, combat spirit (within regime forces) seems to be degrading," said White, a defense fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "The rebels are getting stronger, they keep forming units, they keep getting defectors, they keep getting personnel."
The rebel movement has grown bottom-up, a fighting force replete with Syrian army defectors, Syrian citizens, and Islamists -- from inside and outside the country. Regional commands are emerging, and units are working together.
The government has ceded huge swaths of territory in the north, and hasn't been able to oust rebels from the most populous city of Aleppo, which is almost fully under rebel control.
"The opposition pretty much owns Syria," said Michael Weiss, research director at the UK-based Henry Jackson Society. "The regime hardcore -- they are in the red in the ledger now, not in the black."