Irrespective of those mutations, I still cling to the stubborn belief that the peoples of the MENA yearn for dignity and equal citizenship rather than cling to conditional patronage by their political and religious rulers or else control by self-obsessed Islamist groups. This is why I remain guardedly hopeful that a constructive dialogue in 2015 could help face those daunting challenges.
I wonder if something slightly odd has happened in the past six months or so, whereby the attention devoted to the group in the media and political spheres has dwelt unceasingly on their "barbarity" but failed to actually convey the scale of the human rights crimes involved. Has the effect been to almost trivialise the reality?
Nawfal is a gentle little boy. In a crowd of rowdy children, he stands back and quietly observes. He doesn't say much. But I promise you: If you had seen him that day, and if you had the courage to look into his eyes, you would cry just as I did when I got home. I wish you could have seen his eyes and sensed his defeat.
This time last year I travelled to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon to see how Unicef, the world's leading children's organisation, is keeping Syrian children safe and warm as the temperatures plummet. Nothing could have prepared me for the heartbreaking situation I encountered; the conditions for families living in these informal camps were just horrendous. It's not somewhere that anyone should have to call a home, especially not a child. The over-crowded and unsanitary conditions need just one storm to set off a terrible chain reaction. The cold weather already makes children susceptible to respiratory infections like pneumonia.
The Kurdish people have lived under different political establishments, none of which has led to independence. Modern day Kurdistan reaches across four sovereign states (Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria) yet still manages to inhibit an acknowledged ethnic community. Which is impressive, considering Kurdistan's history - suppressed acts of resistance, and betrayal by foreign entities.
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.