The brutal, chaotic, sprawling Syria crisis is now so multi-faceted, with so many layers, even the newsrooms, experts and seasoned aid-workers are struggling to keep up. I've been working on Syria for nearly four years, yet it continues to horrify me with its images of suffering - of starving families, child amputees and torture survivors. It terrifies me with its prospect of longevity - there is seemingly no end to such an intractable war... We must settle more. We should resettle at least 10,000, our fair share of the 180,000+ who need to be resettled in the rich and developed nations.
Depression is known to cause a pessimistic outlook, an inflexible view of the world, and even suicide. Our research into the root causes of radicalisation - perhaps not surprisingly - found a link between depressive symptoms and sympathies towards terrorist acts. These sympathies being an early marker for risk of radicalisation.
Western foreign policy vis-à-vis Iraq & Syria is an incoherent and ineffective mess. It is becoming painfully obvious that the lazily sporadic Western/coalition air strikes in the two countries, particularly in Iraq, are proving ineffective at pushing back ISIS, let alone defeating it.
Allying with Assad would be worse than poor strategy; it would be morally unacceptable to anyone with an ounce of decency, and to anyone with the slightest stake in identifying and punishing his crimes.
Prime Minister Cameron was right to rule out any co-operation with Assad in the fight against ISIS. He was also right not to seek Parliament's support for possible action in Syria. In the House of Lords, former Chief of the General Staff Lord Dannatt warned that "attacking ISIL in Iraq but not in Syria is dealing with half the problem"...
The UK Parliament vote to bomb Iraq was depressing. Crude political words about 'homeland security', threats to our shores, threats to our people, have whipped many into a panic. The persuasion to bomb was clumsy. There are alternatives.
While as a nation we should take all measures legally possible to combat violent extremism, racism, homophobia, misogyny, and anti-Semitism, we should have nothing to fear from young radical minds. A successful Prevent programme is one that ensures that such minds are nurtured and empowered to contribute positively to society, not silenced or marginalised.
Put simply, it may be better to downplay these murders than to allow them to dominate the narrative. This is far from a simple task - especially as the nature of social media has (rightly) weakened the ability of news organisations to control the debate. But any serious assessment of policy must recognise that this violence is a tool and Western policymakers are being manipulated into making rash judgements.
If we believed the news it would appear like the entire population of Muslim youth have gone abroad to join ISIS and create a medieval world. And with the backdrop of the Trojan Horse investigation of Muslim schools, it would be safe to say the seeds of suspicion have been planted across wider society, of how Muslims raise their children.
The Kurdish proverb 'we have no friends but the mountains' has proven that the Kurds do have friends, not only the diaspora but everyone who is against IS/ISIS.
This isn't to kick sand over the UN. What Woodrow Wilson started with the League of Nations, and what became the United Nations, is our first real go in history of international peace. We haven't had WW3 yet.
Then there's the physical harm to girls. In some cases, it's fatal. A child bride is likely to become sexually active at a young age, while her body is still developing, and she may not have much understanding of reproduction and sexual health. Child brides often find it difficult to discuss family planning methods or sexual practices openly with their husbands. And they often face pressure from family members to become pregnant quickl
Conventional wisdom, steeped as it is in years of de facto political homogeneity, would have you know that the 'War on Terror', as that nasty man George Bush grandly called it, was either misguided, pointless or actively detrimental towards the end it was claimed to champion.
During the course of my humanitarian work in Syria, I have listened to many children share their perspectives. The death of family members, whether siblings or a parent or other loved one is common. Being displaced from their homes, often more than once, and finding their friends and communities snatched away. Memories of repeated attacks from warring parties that flattened whole neighborhoods, fires that raged through the night stay with them.
This photograph of people in the besieged area of Yarmouk [photo from recent update] waiting to get some food at an outdoor soup kitchen is yet another reminder of what it's come to in Syria. Gruelling blockades, endless indiscriminate bombardment, destitution, pain, hunger.
Dr Isa Abdur Rahman was born and raised in London, graduated from Imperial College London in 2011 and had left his job at the Royal Free Hospital to volunteer with a Hand in Hand for Syria. He left behind a devoted wife, his family, friends and everyone whose heart he touched...