Allan Little, the BBC's PARIS Correspondent, makes a rare visit to Damascus.
With exceptional access to the country's ruling elite he asks them about change.
From Prime Minister to the President's personal advisor on reform - all are talking about the need for a shake up.
But is that all it is - talk? And what pressure, if any, is FRANCE bringing to bear on this ossified political and economic environment.
If the French, as they claim - rather than the Americans - hold the keys to substantial change in the region then it ought to be possible to see evidence of their influence on the ground.