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Crisis in Syria: On the Road from Damascus

The bell rang out from the Carmelite monastery in the Syrian mountains between Damascus and Homs. It would be audible to Islamic State (IS) jihadists, whose front line is less than three miles away. It said defiantly: “We are still here.” The terrorists captured Qara, the local ­village, burnt the churches, dug up the Christian graves and scattered the bones. The friars and sisters had survived only by taking refuge in an old Roman tower where they were protected by Muslim friends. Now the village has been recaptured by the Syrian army.