Six years of violence have killed close to half a million people, according to the Syrian Centre for Policy Research, displaced half of the country's prewar population, allowed the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) to seize huge swaths of territory, and created the worst humanitarian crisis in recent memory.
International diplomatic efforts have repeatedly failed to bring the protracted conflict closer to an end and the growing role of outside actors has changed the nature and trajectory of the war.
The UN estimates the war has pushed close to five million people to flee the country, many of whom have risked their lives seeking sanctuary in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of others exist precariously in tents and tin shelters in Syria's neighbouring countries.
The country's healthcare system, particularly in places like Aleppo, is decimated. More than four-fifths of the country live in poverty.
Basic infrastructure, such as the electricity grid, water lines and roads, is in shambles. As of 2015, 83 percent of Syria's electric grid was out of service, according to a coalition of 130 non-governmental organisations.
On Monday, in an address to the UN Human Rights Council, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein described the war in Syria as "the worst man-made disaster since World War II".
Global watchdog Amnesty International said in a report last August that an estimated 17,700 people had died from torture or harsh conditions while in government custody since the beginning of the conflict. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) put the number at 60,000.
Many others have been executed, and far more have simply disappeared. Thousands more have died in prisons run by rebel groups and hardliners.
"Indeed, the entire conflict, this immense tidal wave of bloodshed and atrocity, began with torture," he said, citing as an example the torture of a group of children by security officials over anti-government graffiti in the southern city of Daraa six years ago. "Today, in a sense, the entire country has become a torture chamber, a place of savage horror and absolute injustice," he said.
Intervention by regional and global players into what started as an uprising of the people against a repressive government has transformed the conflict into a proxy war.