FUELLING the fire of war will only make things worse, so says Reem Doukmak, a Syrian academic studying at Warwick University.
The 33-year-old was chosen to join a scholarship at the university’s Centre of Linguistics in 2007. She has continued her studies and is now researching new methods of learning for refugees.
But Reem has had to leave the rest of her family in Syria and says she fears for their safety.
She told the Observer: “I am constantly worried about my family. I wish they could come to the UK so I stop panicking when I hear bad news back home. It terrifies me when I lose contact with them.”
And the situation in Syria shows no sign of being resolved anytime soon, with the UK recently wading in on the war and sanctioning airstrikes.
MPs in the House of Commons voted by 397 votes to 223 for the UK to launch airstrikes on so-called Islamic State targets in the country
Reem believes increased attacks will only lead to more refugees seeking aid in Europe.
She said: “Fuelling the fire of war in Syria will only increase the influx of Syrians crossing the borders.
“I also think the end to war should be through peace negotiations through the two main conflicts sides – Assad’s regime and the opposition. The threat from ISIS could be addressed after the roots of the conflict are resolved.
“The situation is simply going to become more complicated when trying to resolve the issue but overlooking the main reason of the war.”
While Reem has been studying in the UK, she has made two trips to Turkey to work with refugees displaced by the Syrian fighting.
She believes the Syrians do not want to stay in Europe and hope to return home when the war is over.
Reem – who taught English at a university in Homs before moving to the UK – said: “The refugee camps are transitional spaces, people do not want to live there for the rest of their lives. They have stayed there until now because they are living in the hope they will soon go back to their country across the borders.
“The imprisonment feeling, the uncertain vision of the future, the strict rules and large number of refugees crammed into such a small space seems a common feature across the camps, which can vary from neat containers to primitive tents.
“If David Cameron announces he wants to bring refugees from the camps, he should be aware that he is tempting them to build expectations that he will help them find a route out of the limbo they are stuck in.
“Those who now live in urban areas are just as destitute. Many of them are vulnerable, particularly the children.”
Reem says she hopes to move back to Syria to be with her family when the war is over.
She said: “England is nice, but there is nowhere like home.”
* Solihull’s two Conservative MPs – Caroline Spelman and Julian Knight – both voted in favour of the airstrikes.
Mr Knight said: “We can’t negotiate with Daesh. They have no reasonable demands.
“The military defeat of Daesh is an essential part of every possible solution. That’s why we should play our part.
“There is no escaping the truth that a barbaric death cult is currently in control of a substantial amount of territory, military hardware, and money, and that they pose a direct threat to our own security.”