War still rages in Syria - a fact that we are too quick to forget. The second birthday of the crisis has long passed and resolution doesn't appear to be on the horizon. When Syria-related news does reach our media outlets and Twitter feeds, it usually focuses on chemical weapons or possible intervention by the US. There is little talk of the abhorrent humanitarian crisis, which deteriorates daily.
I joined Unicef after about six months of working with the NGO. Being in Unicef gives me the chance to stay in my country, keep a job, and help vulnerable children at the same time. Life here does get lonely sometimes, with my family and friends out of the country. Everyone goes home before sunset and prefers to stay indoors for safety, which leaves no room for social life after work. I go home in the evening and continue working. Power supply is erratic, and water is available only every few days, and only for a few hours.
As the hell of Syria's ongoing and increasingly intractable internal conflict continues to play out, the announcement by newly installed US Secretary of State John Kerry that the US is to step up its support for the Syrian opposition with $60 million in 'non-military' aid should leave nobody in any doubt that the day of western military intervention in the conflict fast approaches.
For several weeks in February 1982, Assad's forces crushed a revolt lead by a splinter group of the Muslim Brotherhood. In twenty one days the regime killed an estimated 40, 000 lives. Raphaёl Lefèvre's Ashes of Hama tries to understand its significance and suggests that the current uprising must be viewed through the prism of this massacre.
The gunfire started up. It was alarmingly close-by; but it took a moment to realise it was actually aimed at us. Bullets whistled low over our heads. The Jordanian soldiers broke into a run and hustled us behind some freshly bulldozed earth berms, then down, to their barracks - a right-angle of white shipping containers. Body armour, helmets: on.
As the nation's weather men and women garner larger audiences than usual this weekend with the population gripped by forecasts of snow and ice, this week saw a harsh reminder of the impact of cold weather for those targeted by civil war. Give it a few days, and no doubt the caterwauling will start as trains get cancelled and roads blocked around the country. For Syria's refugees, transport delays are the least of their problems.
Abu'l Huda and other social media activists are mini information hubs that undermine the propaganda of the regime. His broadcasts on YouTube and Facebook is a ticker tape of the tragic story of Syria that has claimed over 40,000 lives.
With Syria's cash reserves dwindling and its armed forces ceding more and more territory to the rebels, nothing could be more certain today than the inevitable downfall of Assad. However cathartic that moment may be, it is unfortunately unlikely to mark the end of the Syrian civil war.