The first was the mounting evidence of human rights abuses against a vulnerable Syrian civilian population. The second, was the likely destabilising role to be played by foreign jihadist fighters in a war increasingly marked by sectarian divisions.
In the dead of night, on the banks of the Orontes River that straddles the frontier and in the refugee camps that have sprung up in the Turkish town of Yayladagi, time and again I heard the stories of traumatised Syrian people.
Among them were families who had trekked over the mountains, bringing with them horrific eyewitness accounts of children targeted by snipers, hospitals used as torture chambers and funeral mourners and doctors shot by regime troops and paramilitaries.
Just inside Syria, in a hidden hillside forest base adjacent to the Turkish village of Guvecci, I met Sunni rebel fighters whose devout demeanour and religious zeal clearly marked them out as jihadist inspired holy warriors.
"I don't care who they are – Libyan, Iraqi, if they want to help us bring down Assad, then they there are welcome," insisted one of the Syrians pointing to some of his comrades-in-arms whose uncomfortable reticence suggested they had indeed come from much further afield in the Arab and Islamic world.
Their mood left me in little doubt it was neither the time nor place to further enquire as to their origins or motives.
In the six or so months that have passed since those encounters, the mounting evidence of human rights abuses and the increasing presence of foreign jihadist fighters have today become the most disturbing hallmarks of Syria's civil war.
According to documentary evidence released yesterday by human rights groups working inside Syria, at least 28,000 Syrians have been forcibly disappeared over the past 19 months after being abducted by Syrian soldiers or militia of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
By any standards this a staggering number, even if recent history has shown how difficult it is to put a really accurate figure on disappearances while a conflict is still raging.
Over many years I've listened to human rights workers in the throes of a war try to make sense of such numbers in places as far apart as El Salvador, Bosnia and Iraq. Problematic as the job of these human right workers was, and still is, at the very least what their ongoing accumulation of figures and testimony does is provide a useful indicator of the extent of abuses.
Almost always that process reveals certain emerging patterns. Eyewitness accounts form a cumulative stack of evidence that, while not yet unequivocally proven, increasingly points to the irrefutable. Syria today is no exception.
Syria must not become a new Bosnia, insisted UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay yesterday. "It should not take something as drastic as Srebrenica to shake the world into taking serious action to stop this type of conflict," she said, drawing parallels with the 1995 massacre in Bosnia that saw 8000 Muslim men and boys killed before their corpses were bulldozed into pits.
Srebrenica was the worst massacre on European soil since the Second World War, and just as Dutch UN peacekeepers then abandoned what had been designated a UN safe haven to advancing Bosnian Serb forces, so today the UN seems powerless in its efforts to staunch the bloodletting in Syria.
Can Navi Pillay and her UN colleagues really have failed to notice that Syria has long since become another Bosnia?
What is Aleppo if not another Sarajevo? Both once thriving cities and UNESCO World Heritage sites, all of a sudden one day their citizens find themselves under heavy and indiscriminate artillery fire.
Both have been places where snipers pick off the unwary in the empty streets as they struggle to survive without food and water.
Aleppo, like Sarajevo, has buried its citizens on waste ground under cover of nightfall and the endless relay of wounded brought into its beleaguered hospitals are operated on with the most rudimentary of surgical tools by doctors working under torchlight in wards without electricity.
There are other parallels too between today's war-torn Syria and Bosnia. By the early 1990's foreign mujahideen (holy warriors) arrived in the Balkans with the aim of helping their Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) co-religionists defend themselves from the Serb and Croat forces.
Likewise today, foreign Sunni Muslim jihadist fighters, from many parts of North Africa the Middle East and other regions of the Islamic world, have rallied under the holy war banner in Syria. Among them are British Muslims – including, it is said, a trainee NHS doctor who is alleged to have been part of a foreign extremist group that kidnapped British and Dutch journalists in Syria a few months ago.
Lately such groups have made their presence felt on the battlefield. Jabhat Al Nusra – one of the fundamentalist jihadi sects affiliated to the Free Syrian Army – has been credited with securing many of the rebels' recent advances in the north of the country, notably a key air force base outside Aleppo last week.
Last week, too, the highly respected think-tank, Inter-national Crisis Group (ICG) released its very telling report, Tentative Jihad: Syria's Fundamentalist Opposition, in which it detailed the extent to which these extremists, mainly Salafist inspired groups, have made inroads within Syria's rebel ranks.
Their presence, the report concludes, is an "irrefutable, damaging, yet not necessarily irreversible trend".
Breaking the grip of the extremists, says the ICG, will require the Syrian opposition to curb their influence, members of the international community to co-ordinate their policies and a perilous military stalemate to transition to a political solution.
"The West's reluctance to act, coupled with the early willingness of private, wealthy, and religiously conservative Gulf Arabs to provide funds, bolstered both the Salafi's coffers and their narrative, in which Europe and the US figure as passive accomplices in the regime's crimes," concludes the ICG report.
In other words, this is the price we pay for ineffective diplomatic action over Syria.
Taken together, the dramatic widespread increase in human rights abuses and the rise of Islamic extremist influence have finally presented us with the real and ugly face of Syria's civil war.