We have been working in Izmir for a while now, with families living in difficult conditions in the city. Too many people in tiny rooms with no money for food, dreaming of making the life-threatening crossing to Greece in the rubber boats that leave from there. But nothing could have prepared me for this...
It appears that foreign powers, including those with the most appalling human rights records, can demand that passports of their citizens can be confiscated by foreign powers. The question is why is the British government going along with this? Amazingly enough despite all the heated condemnatory language, the British government has done just that on behalf of the Assad regime.
With this knowledge, and with courage and honesty, we must build on the rhetoric of the New York meeting to identify practical solutions. In today's globalised world, where instability in one place can affect stability in another, we must find ways for all individuals to access opportunity, so they can contribute and achieve irrespective of where they were born.
Conflict and displacement also carry with them the less visible scars of grief and trauma - feelings difficult to manage in adults, and even harder to manage in children. While it's unimaginable to ignore the effects of the war, can there really be reasons for optimism and hope? A group of Syrian artists believe so.
The tragedy behind Iraj's story is shared by millions of Syrians displaced by the ongoing conflict. The numbers related to this crisis are so big, it can be hard to think of them as individual stories, specific families, unique faces... Each story we hear has one thing in common: explosive weapons are always part of their heart-breaking account.
I know there are good people, kind people, loving people out there. You're probably one of them. So please, I urge you, donate some money to help these helpless war victims. We should not have to rely on charity but our government has failed to do enough and the opposition has been too consumed with inter-party spatting to curtail the government's inaction.
Volunteers are not collateral damage. They are not acceptable targets when a ceasefire ends. Ceasefire or no, the rules of international humanitarian law still apply. Safe access must mean safe access. Guarantees given by fighting parties must be honoured. This recent attack has horrified people across the world. It has also denied 78,000 people of much-needed aid. These attacks cannot and must not continue. We call for all aid workers to be respected and protected. This, sadly, may not be the first time aid workers have been attacked. But it should be - it must be - the last.
Theresa May talked about the importance of a global response to the refugee crisis but she did not offer any more resettlement opportunities and of course, the UK is playing no part in this emergency programme to relocate refugees from Greece... I saw too much suffering in Greece and this pain shatters my heart. I do not like to be angry but I am full of anger and I am disgusted by this terrible indifference. The people I met last week were full of warmth, compassion and dignity, despite their despair and exhaustion, and they deserve so much more.
Sometimes even a greybeard old hack like me is sickened by the obscenity of the world in which we live. Sickened by the obscenity of Western governments selling arms to warring parties and then building walls to keep out the desperate families fleeing from their bombs. Sickened by the weasel words of governments that pledge to help those same desperate families when they have no intention of fulfilling their pledges.
It was a woman I'd never met who finally swung it. As I lay on a plump mattress under a duck down duvet one night in late April, I thought about what she, Liz, had done with her day. While I'd been sitting on my backside, shuffling words around and working my way through a variety of nut-based snacks, she'd been putting out fires, breaking up knife fights and comforting dozens of bewildered children who know her as a second mum.
Benjamin Loyauté is a designer, artist, author, academic, filmmaker (not easy to pigeonhole) who has visited Syria both before and during the current conflict. Looking for a project that could in some way unite Syrians, he was struck by that country's fondness for sweets evident in the colourful mountains of confectionery that were once abundant on street candy carts and souk stalls.