That was in 2009, when the drought had lasted already three years. It is exactly in those areas (Raqqa, Hasakka, Dir-al Zor) affected by prolonged drought, failed crops, hunger and mass emigration that the Islamic State was established. The Shi'a governments in Bagdad and Damascus did nothing to assist the desperate Sunni population, powerless and despised. I think there is causative link between the drought and the establishment of a Sunni state, called the Islamic State. The rebellion was kidnapped by the fundamentalist Islam, but its motives are not doctrinaire but existential, food and now security. It is conceivable that the Caliphate provided hope and a future to the opressed Sunni in Syria and Iraq.
It is strange that the media fills our minds with pictures and clips of fighting and mutilated bodies and thousands of refugees running toward the Turkish border, and there is no mention of the deeper motives and decade-long development of the Sunni tragedy. I had chronicled in this very blog the environmental stress raging in the Hasakkah province, a decade ago. I did not foresee that it would lead to the destruction of two countries and even perturb the ethnic harmony of Europe.