THE failure of the Geneva 11 talks, coupled with the deepening splits among the armed opposition groups, have further weakened the possibilities for a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Syria. The conflict, which has now entered its third year, has cost the lives of more than 140,000 people. A third of the country’s population have been turned into refugees. The motley collection of rebel forces has been steadily losing ground since last year. They are also increasingly turning against each other.