Saydnaya is a place of unimaginable terror. Even when you know about the numerous horrors that have already unfolded in Syria in the past half-decade, it chills you to the bone to hear survivors telling you what it was like to be in Saydnaya. The 30 or so former detainees we spoke to have been to hell and back.
Heads of states come and go and, as recent events in Europe show, in a rapidly changing world, that seems to be the only opportunity for compromise and peaceful transition toward the new global realities. Yet if Erdogan would still manage to eat his cake and have it too, perhaps to everybody's surprise, he will be able to surpass Ataturk's legacy too.
We can and we should provide both if the decades-long international system of protection of civilians and regulation of warfare is to have any meaning. It is urgent to ensure the safe passage of civilians in Eastern Aleppo according to International Law; and it is imperative to investigate the responsibility for the crimes that have already been committed.
We woke up early for the two hour drive from the city, into the midst of the desert, and there it was... Barbed wire, security and dust; we had our passports and equipment thoroughly checked before entering. As we drove through the camp the vastness of it became clear, sand-coloured shelters in every direction, as far as the eye could see; the homes of 85,000 Syrian refugees.
Our country's history plainly shows that the long term consequences of doing nothing in the face of fascism are far more significant than the short term comforts of retreating into isolation. So while air strikes may seem like an overly expensive, dangerous and risky gesture of solidarity for France and the other innocents who have died at the hands of ISIS, as I've attempted to show, there is no real alternative...
Cameron's new campaign contains no concrete plans for curtailing the above, no plans for injecting life into the economies of these communities once IS has been eradicated and no plans for bringing an end to a civil war which has displaced 9.5 million people. Thus, as seen in Ma'an, a cycle of fight or flight will continue in the absence of any genuine offering of enduring stability for the Syrian people.
It is with regret that I feel I have no other option but to abstain on this evening's vote... I have thought long and hard before deciding that I have no other choice. The reason is simple, I'm not against airstrikes in principle. In fact as part of an integrated strategy for Syria they are almost certainly a necessary part. But airstrikes are a tactic not a strategy and outside a strategy I fear they will fail.
Syrian Opposition groups have opposed the brutal Assad regime for years but came together and swelled in numbers in 2011... So just who are the Syrian Moderate Opposition now? What do they want and who are they fighting? Below we attempt to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the Syrian Moderate Opposition.
It comes down to this: should the UK use what little international influence it still has to encourage the resumption of international peace talks - and could David Cameron and Philip Hammond bring themselves to champion the cause of the EU as an essential part of the mix? Or would they rather ask the House of Commons to approve RAF bombing raids in Syria, even though they must know full well that a few more bombs - even if they carry "Made in Britain" markings - are unlikely to make a blind bit of difference?
Bashar al-Assad is responsible for some of the most heinous war crimes of recent times, including the use of chemical weapons, the mass imprisonment and torture of political opponents, and the indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas causing massive casualties. Yet the unpalatable reality must surely be that, despite his grim record, he remains indispensable in the search for an end to the conflict.