There are more than three million people displaced from their homes in Iraq, in addition to several hundred thousand refugees from the war in neighbouring Syria. For elderly Iraqis suffering from diabetes, who are forced to leave their home to travel to a distant camp, it can be difficult to manage their disease with insulin or other medications.
Refugee Action was formed to support refugees resettled to the UK after fleeing Vietnam and we have been helping refugees through resettlement programmes ever since. In the late 90's we worked with refugees fleeing war in Bosnia and Kosovo. This week, we have been there for those arriving from Syria to new homes in London and Birmingham.
Bombing Islamic State targets in Syria may, possibly, help to reduce the threat of further IS advances in Syria and Iraq and may, again possibly, help to reduce the threat of further attacks in Europe. What it will not do is 'defeat' the ideology that underpins its appeal to those who flock to join its ranks.
Public discourse on our foreign policy should be rooted in our nation's long term international interests, and the affects those decisions will have domestically. Instead what we saw two weeks ago was a debate full of inconsistencies and carrying distinctly Hobbesian flavours: nastiness, brutishness, and shortness.
We're reaching the end of 2015 with no end in sight over Syria. The carnage and agony continue. So do the detentions, the torture, the deaths in custody, the "disappearances" and state gangsterism. The Syrian government's barrel bombings also continue and the ever-widening internationalisation of the conflict appears to mean that any eventual resolution is harder still to envisage. But what, if anything, have we learnt about the Syria crisis during 2015? Here are a few thoughts...
Western involvement in foreign lands kills innocent individuals, urging some to leave behind rational thought and support or participate in ISIS' endeavours. The number of likely volunteers is growing rapidly and, undeniably, the West continues to produce more. Neglecting to pay attention to the aforementioned caution will only bolster ISIS' footholds.