No sooner that it appears it will plunge the ME, Russia, and NATO over the precipice into World War III by Assad using chemical weapons, or lobbing rockets or missiles at Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, or Israel, then things "cool down" with new UN sanctions/UN peace negotiations or another "news-worthy" event occurs that distracts the world's masses from the war, and the civil war threatening to engulf the entire region returns to the status of a lingering civil conflict simmering in the background.
This war has two different base 7 years functioning as its genesis (it became an "official" civil war in 2012): 1998 or 1991, both years being the start of two Balkans civil wars.
I thought it might go like the Kosovo civil war of 1998-99, with NATO beginning to pound Syria and Assad with airstrikes in March 2013, much like it did Serbia in March 1999.
Well, it is now November 2013 and still not a peep from the United States, Turkey, or NATO about taking decisive military action. "All options remain open" - the same spiel we've heard for well over a year now. Meantime, further dragging the heels of the international community is the United Nations trying in vain to find a solution.
This sounds a lot more like the first Balkans civil war that began in Croatia and Serbia in 1991, and became the Bosnian Civil War in April 1992. There was even a "summer of Sarajevo" peace brokered by the UN in 1994 after NATO was allowed to make a few "pin prick" air strikes in the spring that seemed to end the war, until it restarted with a vengeance in the late autumn of 1994. Together, the Croat-Serb conflict and the war in Bosnia lasted for a combined 4 1/2 years ... 3 1/2 of them in Bosnia ... not ending until NATO got tired of being dictated to by the UN and finally began to take matters into its own hands in May 1995. However, the air strikes were not intensive enough and over 300 UN peacekeepers taken hostage by Serbs, some shackled and chained as human shields to areas that were to be targeted by NATO warplanes and missiles. After the hostages were finally freed, the war turned chaotic with entire Serb-held and Croat-held regions emptied out in fierce ethnic fighting, resulting in hundreds of thousands of displaced refugees. For what would be the third and last time, NATO resumed its air war. The war ended after sustained and catastrophic NATO airstrikes in late August, September, and early October 1995.
The longer NATO drags its heels and doesn't get involved, the more likely that the conflict in Syria will fester on like Bosnia did rather than Kosovo ... until late summer/early autumn of 2015. Or, if there is to be a base 7 match with the year Bosnia ended (1995), then late summer/early autumn of 2016.
However, by that time, a decisive move against Syria by Western forces (and likely also by Israel, Turkey, and Jordan) will only succeed in triggering World War III from the ashes of Assad's defeat and the nuclear destruction of Damascus.
Isaiah 17 King James Version (KJV)
The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
Jeremiah 49:23-27 King James Version (KJV)
Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet. Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail. How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy! Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the Lord of hosts. And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad.