Analyst Nervana Mahmoud and I spoke with BBC Radio 5 Live on Tuesday afternoon about the US attacks inside Syria.

The discussion took place before revelations of the American strikes on insurgents, causing civilian deaths, but those development only reinforce the issues and questions in this interview.

Listen to discussion from 1:13.30

The US has to assess a serious question: is it going to follow up the airstrikes with meaningful weapons to the Syrian insurgency to fight the Islamic State? Because you can’t defeat the Islamic State only with airstrikes.

If you arm the insurgents against the Islamic State, do you also accept that they are going to use those weapons to fight the Assad regime?…

You can’t contain this. The US is going to have to make a hard decision. Either it carries what is going to be a token — albeit a power token — campaign against the Islamic State, or it has to come off the fence after more than three years, which means a campaign against the regime.

The discussion also considers the likelihood of Britain joining the American attacks.