Tensions are also rising in two regions outside of al-Assad's control— not tied to living conditions as these areas are relatively in better economic shape than Damascus but tied to geopolitical games.
Russia has downed American drones in these areas as part of an indirect escalation tied to the ongoing war in Ukraine. This antagonistic approach seems to be more about sending messages rather than engaging in direct military confrontation which neither side has the appetite for.
In Syria's north, an escalation between Damascus and Ankara is unfolding through clashes between government-controlled areas and opposition-held regions. On its part, Israel has also stepped up its air strikes on "Iranian sites" in Syria.
Setbacks in Arab normalisation
Against the backdrop of these rising economic and military tensions in Syria, Arab normalisation efforts with Damascus have also hit a roadblock.
During the recently-held Arab ministerial meeting in Cairo discussions between the foreign ministers of Arab states and Faisal Mekdad the Syrian foreign minister, revealed a significant disparity and sluggish progress.
Mekdad reluctantly agreed to receive a copy of the Arab-Jordanian paper titled "Steps for Steps" from Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi. This paper outlined what was offered to Damascus and the corresponding expectations.
Within the document, commitments were made to ease Western sanctions on Damascus if political reforms are implemented in the upcoming parliamentary elections, preceding the meetings of the Constitutional Committee. Mekdad begrudgingly accepted the document on the condition that it was not considered binding.
Against this bleak backdrop, the benefits of Arab engagement have yet to fully materialise, and sanctions will persist, which means that there will be no immediate improvement in living conditions.
Therefore, protests will escalate to include new actors — all waiting for a miraculous turn of events or an unexpected development.