It was 12 years ago. On March 15, 2011, the revolution against Bashar al-Assad's regime began in Syria, carried by hope for change. More than a decade later, the balance sheet of these years could not be more bleak: the revolution has turned into an ongoing war; at least 300,000 people have died in the country; a third of the population is now exiled abroad and another third is displaced within Syria; the territory is fragmented, with some parts still beyond the regime's control; the economy is in tatters; and 80 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
Only one element has not collapsed during all these years of war: the president himself, Bashar al-Assad.
With such a record, how has he managed to stay in power?
Five factors, at least, can explain why Assad has not fallen though the world was betting on it in 2011.
Lucile Wassermann explains in the latest five-minute episode of our "Explainer" series.