This was the assessment by 20 June 2014. (click here) It is drastically different. The desertification was taking a toll on the land and there was little to no hope in sight.
Desertification still provides the vehicle that results in more aggression by Assad and more victims of citizens. If the land were arable (suitable for growing crops) the people would be moving to land they could survive and even potentially thrive.
This is a map from the "Washington Post." (click here)
Daesh, in 2015, controlled major water resources in Syria. What does anyone expect? If the people don't have water and arable land, Daesh can keep this up forever.