Imagine the horrors of healthcare in a warzone: children having limbs amputated because of a lack of medical supplies and equipment to treat their wounds. Patients knocked out with iron bars, rather than face an operation without anaesthetic. A newborn baby dying in an incubator because of power-cuts... For millions of people inside Syria - this is the reality of their lives now.
"But why is Ukraine so vital?" you may ask. "Well", I reply, in a fittingly grave and solemn tone, "because it is the latest manifestation of Russian aggression, and we cannot allow the sabre rattling (and unsheathing) of a tyrant like Vladimir Putin go unpunished."
We started this. That's what I can't help thinking every time I hear about the latest death and suffering in Syria. When the US and Britain invaded Iraq in 2003, we set off a chain of events that led inexorably to the killing fields of Damascus and Aleppo.
The political elite has every interest in minimising and dismissing popular protest but it was the anti-war movement that played the crucial role in highlighting government deceit in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq and mobilising and educating so many people.
Far from the conference corridors at the Geneva 2 talks - the corridors of the UNHCR's Beirut office are bustling. Outside in the morning sun hundreds of Syrian refugees have already gathered in long queues. They're waiting.
While the seasons and the landscape change in Syria, so much about the country's protracted conflict is unchanging and unrelenting. Thousands of people killed each month, atrocities on both sides, and thousands more fleeing the country as refugees. Millions living in limbo, some out of reach of humanitarian aid, when all they want is peace and a chance for normal life to resume.
"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.
The last thing I expected on my latest trip to Syria at the very beginning of 2014 was to be able to eat a bowl of fetteh in Abu Salim's restaurant in Najjiyeh, in territory controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Women face enormous challenges during war, whether it's in Syria or South Sudan. War is more than fighting, it is about helping her family to survive both during and after the conflict, long after the media has departed the battlezone.
I took part in a recent UN convoy that delivered much-needed relief supplies to a hard-to-reach area of rural Idleb, in Syria's north-west. An estimated 40,000 displaced people have taken shelter in Khan Shikhon town, in the southern part of the governorate, swelling the town's regular population of around 80,000. They have come mainly to escape fighting their home areas in rural parts of Idleb and Hama governorates... For many of these vulnerable children and families, the humanitarian situation in Khan Shikhon is grim.
Syria has been facing disaster - humanitarian and military - for three blood-soaked years. A recent event has rocked this already volatile region, and deepened the divisions within all sections of society, increasing the chance that this war will be even longer and bloodier than first thought. The Islamists are coming, and this represents an even stronger reason for the West to intervene.
Crises at the scale of what has unfolded in Syria and neighbouring countries inevitably upset all norms and test the capacity of all organisations to respond, national or international. There can be no humanitarian solutions for what is fundamentally a political crisis. Yet as we head towards the third anniversary of the uprising in Syria, the international community does need to be asking itself: are we doing enough to assist those affected, and how can we do this better?
Zara Hakim is a Syrian currently living under siege in a southern suburb of Damascus. One of the many activists still inside Syria, she and her team have, for the past two weeks, been working to raise international attention for their 'Break the Siege' campaign...
All any of these families want is to go home, to return to what they knew, to resume normal lives. The only way this will happen is for the conflict to end, for peace talks to begin to allow a safe return to pick back up the lives left behind. No one is suggesting that is likely to be any time soon.
The 200 to 500 refugees who arrive daily in Jordan now cross at the north-eastern border areas, which, despite challenging desert conditions, are safer to reach from the Syrian side. "Only the badly wounded cross here now," Salah tells us.
With religious and ethnic issues building up, the need for a pressure valve has never been greater. In allowing those who wish to do so to flee the country, formerly selfish nations can play a serious positive role in the region.