Ibrahim Dawoud (2nd R) plays music on an Oud next to his brother (R) and neighbors inside their home in the ancient Christian quarter of Bab-Touma in Damascus January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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Two of the Dawoud brothers, born and raised in the ancient Christian quarter of Bab Touma, were killed last September battling jihadis who have come to dominate the insurgency against President Bashar Assad.The government raised dependable militias to help in the fight.Known as the National Defense Forces and believed to number in the tens of thousands, they, along with other loyalist militia, help to ensure the state remains by far the strongest party to a conflict estimated to have killed 200,000 people. The two Dawoud brothers killed in September – Amer and Bashar – had fought in a number of battles around Damascus and further afield, said Naji Dawoud, 49, another of the brothers.The Dawoud brothers are on the constant look out for strangers in Bab Touma, which they patrol with other NDF members who man checkpoints painted in the national colors and adorned with pictures of Assad.
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