On Tuesday last week Theresa May addressed the Tory Party Conference in Manchester, and made a bid for the right-wing vote in their forthcoming leadership election with a barbed speech on how Britain’s social fabric would be at risk if we let too many immigrants into our country.

On that very same day we were sitting in a portacabin within sight of the Euphrates River listening to the Head of the Nizip Refugee Camp set out the Turkish Government’s approach to the crisis over their border.

We were told that those who have fled Syria, only an hour away from where we were speaking, were considered "guests "in Turkey, and that the country imposes no limits on the numbers of Syrian refugees that it welcomes to safety.

The number of asylum seekers entering the UK is now at a historic low of around 25,000 a year. The so called crisis in Calais is caused by 3000 refugees.

Sitting in a community centre set up to support the local refugee population in Gaziantep, staff from the UNHCR explained to us that at one point following an escalation of fighting just over the border in Kobani, Turkey was admitting 5000 refugees an hour. A total of 200,000 refugees fled the conflict to Turkey in that fortnight alone.

Last week we travelled close to the Turkey-Syria border to witness for ourselves the enormous scale of the humanitarian effort to support the two and a half million Syrian refugees who have fled to Turkey in the last four years.

The Turkish President reminded European leaders last week that there are ten times as many refugees from this crisis seeking shelter in Turkey as there are in the entire EU.

On our thirty-six hour trip we spent a morning touring a government run refugee camp to hear first hand the stories of those affected by the Syrian conflict. We also met with the United Nations, Ngos and local officials to develop a personal understanding of the crisis and discuss how Scotland and the UK can better support the efforts of the Turkish Government and the international community to accommodate and support this massive and still growing number of dispossessed people.

It was particularly important to both of us to hear the stories of the Syrian men women and children, who have been caught up in the eye of this conflict, so that we can help ensure that the voices of these fragile people are heard in the ongoing debate on their country’s future. They should not be numbers on a page, they are human beings with a story, and that story should be heard.

The Nizip Refugee Camp holds around five thousand refugees. Over half of those in the camp are children. It’s one of 25 refugee camps in the country, which together hold around ten percent of the displaced people in Turkey.

Nizip is one of 6 camps which use converted shipping containers to house each family. The containers are just 21sq metres (7m x 3m) in size, about the size of a large living room, but provides shelter, toilet and cooking facilities for around 5 or 6 people each. The camp has a market, library, a laundry and school facilities for children from nursery through to secondary school. Each guest receives less than twenty pounds per month to buy food and groceries.

While touring the facilities, we listened heartbroken as people told us of how their families had been uprooted by violence, but who want nothing more than to return home. At the same time, we heard that their towns and villages had been reduced to rubble by air strikes ordered by President Assad.

The following morning we were grateful to have time to meet with the Deputy Governor of Gaziantep Province, who was frustrated at the fact that although many delegations from across Europe have passed though this area, there is no evidence of a significant change in policy to better support these refugees or end the conflict.

He told us that what is Turkey’s problem today, will be Europe’s challenge tomorrow. Europe cannot stand back while Turkey continues to absorb the burden and costs of this mammoth effort.

The magnitude of this issue is staggering, but the tragic stories we heard first hand from these brave men and women have also had a huge impact on us both.

Mohammed Tomuk and Salwa Yusuf came to the camp from Northern Syria. They invited the SNP delegation into their home, which is a converted shipping container to tell their story.

Mohammed was a pilot in the Syrian Air Force, and fled the country with his family when he was asked to take part in bombing raids on civilian targets within his own country. His wife Zoya, who was a writer, said to us: “We are not numbers, we are not animals, we want to be human beings, not numbers on a page."

Zoya was a student of English Literature at University in Syria. She hasn’t been able to resume her studies in Turkey due to a lack of paperwork and documentation.

“I am a writer. But I haven’t words anymore. I am not a woman after this, I have no dreams, " she told us. “I just want to go home, but Daesh are occupying my home now.”

“My life stopped five years ago. I am like any mother, I want my children to have an education. I want my son to finish his studies. I want a normal life.”

Now Zoya is using her time at the Nizip Camp to teach art classes to other refugees. In a classroom adorned by everyday childhood drawings, half a dozen or so stood out. They portrayed the new grim reality of life in Syria, from helicopters dropping barrel bombs to streets strewn by the dead and injured. It was difficult to comprehend the psychological damage clearly done to these children.

Encountering refugees like Zoya and her family it becomes clear that we need to work towards building a long term solution to this issue, rather than simply agreeing to a short term military campaign.

The UK Government recently spent ten times as much bombing Libya than it committed to international efforts to rebuild the country. This is the wrong balance, and is the type of lopsided approach which has previously caused so much damage across the whole Middle East.

If we’re to build a better future for the people we met in Nizip last week, we must leave no stone unturned in seeking a long-term peaceful and sustainable solution for the area by working with all our partners in Europe and the international community. Zoya, Salwa, Mohammed and all the children we met last week deserve no less.

Stephen Gethins is SNP MP for North East Fife and a member of the House of Commons select committee for Foreign Affairs

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh in SNP MP for Ochil and South Perthshire and Westminster Spokesperson for Trade and Investment