(Project Syndicate) – Five years into a brutal civil war, there is no shortage of ways to die in Syria. People are starving to death, most notably in the besieged western town of Madaya. Then there is the violence itself. Killing by aerial bombardment remains (so far) the preserve of government and international forces. Non-state armed groups are restricted to artillery and other ground-launched weapons, including grenades, car bombs, suicide bombs, and, of course, guns. Syria has become a playground for byzantine international power games. What began as a non-violent protest against the government has degenerated into a free-for-all, with women and children paying a disproportionate price and terrorized civilians pouring out of the country.