"As destruction creeps nearer, the mood has changed dramatically in the six months since I was last here. People on all sides – government sympathisers, opposition supporters and civilians who waver in the middle – all feel that Syria has become a victim and a plaything taken over by foreigners. "The situation is no longer in the hands of Syrians. We are pawns in a big game," said Youssef Abdelke, a leading artist. Whatever awaits them in the next few months, whether a change of regime, a political compromise or – the most likely scenario in the minds of people I spoke to – a further intensification of war, they feel it will be decided by outsiders."