As the Syrian revolution enters its second year, three scenarios loom on the horizon. However, as they say in Arabic: "their sweetest is bitter".
What started a year ago as a peaceful protest in the southern town of Dera'a demanding limited reform, has morphed into a popular uprising demanding sweeping changes, mutating into a national upheaval calling for regime change.
With its back to the wall, the Syrian regime rejected all compromise with the opposition and prepared itself for a violent cross country crackdown.
The balance sheet is hardly encouraging. With more than eight thousand Syrians dead, a quarter of a million displaced and countless imprisoned or tortured, the opposition is arming itself in self-defence and its regional supporters are chipping in with western complicity.