In this picture taken Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, photo Thomas Webber, 71, left, looks at the Citadel of Damascus as a Syrian army soldier walks with his girlfriend in the Syrian capital. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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Thomas Webber stoops to check his car for bombs every morning before heading out, but the 71-year-old American has no plans to leave Damascus, a city he has called home for more than four decades. He is perhaps the last American not of Syrian origin living in the capital, after the United States closed its embassy and urged citizens to leave the country in 2012 . The Czech Embassy, which has handled U.S. interests since then, told him to be careful.Except for a brief stint teaching in Iran, he has lived in Syria ever since. Today he has three grown children, 11 grandchildren and a great-grandchild living in various countries. Syria has been hostile to U.S. policies in the region for as long as Webber has been there, but thousands of Americans and other Westerners, including diplomats, teachers, businesspeople and clergy members, called it home. The security situation in the capital has improved since then, and over the past week a U.S. and Russian-brokered cease-fire has brought about the first major lull in the fighting.Webber recently wrote about it on TripAdvisor, where he is a level 6 contributor.
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