Syria Assad Isis Russia
A man rides a bicycle past damaged buildings in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus, Syria November 26, 2015.REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

Will bombing Raqqa defeat Isis? The answer is no. Ask any Syrian with first-hand experience of the group and he or she will tell you the same thing. Eleven countries - not including the Syrian regime - have bombed Syria. There's a joke among Syrians now that every time a man fights with his wife, he'll come and bomb Syria. It's a bitter joke that translates into a real living hell for people inside the country.

The US and their allies have killed and displaced hundreds of civilians and still the number pales in comparison to the massacres perpetrated by the Assad regime and Russia. The regime this year killed seven times more civilians than Isis, and it is responsible for 95% of civilian deaths since the beginning of the conflict. Most of its killing is aimed at communities who dare to resist Assad rule.

These same communities detest the marauding, foreign ways of Isis fighters and are the very people who David Cameron agrees will drive the extremists out. Yet Syrians' demise under Assad and Russian bombardments will only keep Isis strong. No amount of UK airstrikes will help change that.

Layla Al-Jundi*, who runs a women's center in Idlib, one of the opposition areas being targeted by Assad and Russia, said: "Isis is not from our community, they will never succeed here. But we cannot push them out while we are getting attacked from the sky". Layla's women's center has been hit by Assad barrel bombs multiple times, killing some of the students who come there to learn English and other skills. The towns are weakened by these attacks and grow even weaker as people flee. Isis comes in to fill the void, and amidst economic collapse, provides services and the promise of steady salaries, beefing up their recruitment and their hold on the land.

Still, Syrians continue to resist. Just last week in the town of Manbij, one resident was tortured to death for joining non-violent protests to kick Isis out. Other protesters were shot and killed, women were kidnapped and residents were executed.

Syria does need an intervention. Syria needs an intervention to help the people of Manbij, the people of Raqqa, Idlib, Aleppo, Deir Ezzor. A protest sign from Daraa last month said "Stop the bombs, and we will be strong enough to defeat all evil."

Leaving hundreds of thousands to be gassed, besieged and tortured to death by their own government will be a source of shame for the world for many generations to come. But to then take the decision to intervene and ignore these crimes is to rub salt into the wounds of those who have lost so much. The message to these Syrians is: yes the UK will intervene in your country, but this will have nothing to do with protecting you from the killing.

Syrians will not view the UK as saviours or humanitarians. They will not view the UK as champions or human rights or justice. They will view the UK as collaborators. As a country that chooses to turn a blind eye to the killing of Syrian civilians, primarily at the hands of Bashar al-Assad.

Only a negotiated peace settlement will end the conflict and allow strong Syrian communities to push IS out. Under current circumstances, while the Assad regime thinks it can carry out its killing spree with impunity there is no way it will come to the table. From early on in the conflict, the regime's strategy was: "Assad or we burn the country". Well, they are burning the country now.

For peace talks to happen, civilians must be protected. International humanitarian law must be upheld and Security Council resolutions to stop the bombs enforced. What the UK must do is prioritise protection of civilians in Syria, using limited military force if necessary, and ensure real negotiations happen.

To stand in solidarity with Syrian civilians, against Isis and against all the killing, people in the UK should get on the phones to their constituency offices and send their MPs an email with a key message: To defeat Isis, we must protect the Syrian communities who want to drive them out.

Bissan Fakih is a spokesperson for The Syria Campaign, an independent organisation advocating for the protection of civilians in Syria. *Layla's name has been changed for security reasons.