NEWS from Syria has again filled our screens as its people's misery continues.

The heartbreaking image of a dead child washed up on Turkish beach showed the desperate measures refugees are taking to escape. The destruction of the historic city of Palmyra confirms the barbarism from which they are trying to flee.

I travelled through Syria with my partner and young daughter in 2008, staying in Aleppo and Damascus. This beautiful country stole our hearts then and a bit of it remains there still.

We made many friends during our stay there and have kept in touch with some as the war broke out and consumed this land. One man who rented us an apartment in Damascus spent a month in jail and fled to neighbouring Jordan. Our host in Aleppo managed to escape with his family to Turkey and then to Germany. A teacher, he lived for over a year in the cellar of his school as mortars rained down outside.

It is a comfort to know they are safe, but it is a continual sadness to see this beautiful country reduced to rubble and its people forced to flee in their millions.

These same people who were bewitched by our blonde, then two-year-old daughter, who would gather her up and insist on having their picture taken - where are they? Are they safe?

The man who showed me the grand ruins of Palmyra - what has become of him? The 83-year-old curator of the museum there was beheaded by IS fighters as they brought their vile methods to this desert outpost.

I’m grateful that we got to see Syria before it was consumed by war, but fear that we may be the last generation for a long time to see this wonderful and fascinating place. All we can do is provide sanctuary to its people while they need it and redouble our efforts to bring peace to their homeland.