Three years ago, a group of school-children scrawled political graffiti on a wall in the remote Syrian town of Daraa. Their subsequent arrest and torture was the spark that ignited the civil war now ravaging Syria and devastating the lives of so many of its 22 million people. This civil war is now thought to have spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
The Jordanian border is difficult to police. There are more than 40 crossing points, and they are used by both refugees fleeing Syria's civil war and smugglers. Although border guards receive Syrians seeking refuge in Jordan on a daily basis, they must increasingly watch for infiltrators from both sides.
Just a few steps away from safety, in the chaos of crossing the Jordanian border, four-year-old Marwan was separated from his family. Suddenly alon...
Jordan has survived the toughest of times in the last three years enduring the stresses and strains of the regional upheavals and wars. A number of prominent commentators predicted that Jordan looked vulnerable and ready to be swept away by the Arab Spring Tsunami. More than three years later, Jordan remains a haven of stability and common sense in a mad region
"If you can't stop the war then at least send us steel shelters so children have somewhere to hide, and send us some food so that people don't starve. The children in Syria are so hungry they are eating mud." These are the stark words of 12-year-old Syrian refugee Zeina to world leaders ahead of peace talks this week, which will determine her country's fate.
When I discovered that my language degree required me to spend a year's study in the Middle East, I couldn't work out how I felt. Was it excitement or apprehension? Becoming an international student means many things; poor exchange rates, unfamiliar culture and language barriers are to name but a few.
I stood in the Frontline Club behind the podium, staring at the row of faces I was asking for money. Behind me on a projector ran a constant loop of harrowing images from the Syrian war - the dead, the wounded, the broken cities; young men with gasmasks to protect against chemical weapons attacks, women and children forced to leave their homes, huddled, hundreds to a room in the foreign lands where they've been forced to take refuge.
Earlier this week, the United Nations declared Syria's refugee crisis the 'humanitarian calamity' of the century. Every day, roughly 5,000 refugees flee Syria with little more than the clothes on their backs. The number of Syrians who have left their war-ravaged country has risen to more than two million. A year ago, that number was 230,671.