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Rudaw

Syria

Syria's only US citizen refuses to leave what he calls home

By Rudaw 8/3/2016
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Thomas Webber is the only American citizen still living in Damascus according to the Czech Embassy.

The Embassy which has handled US interests in Syria since 2012 has also warned the 71-year-old to be careful due to anti-American sentiment and the risk of car bombings and other attacks.

Although Webber said there is no way he is leaving.

Webber teaches English in a high school in Damascus and several times a week shares his love of Charles Dickens with teenagers from the French-speaking Lycee Charles-de-Gaulle.

He was born and raised in Orchard Park, New York, a suburb of Buffalo. His father was a German railyard master and his mother was a Polish nurse. 

He was living in California when he was offered a job teaching science at Damascus Community School, a private American academy. 

Webber arrived in Damascus in 1975, and went on to convert to Islam and marry a Syrian woman. Except for a brief stint teaching in Iran, he has lived in Syria ever since.

In the chaotic early months of the conflict when foreigners fled, fearing kidnappings and bombings, Webber and his wife began taking strong precautionary measures which included doing a lot more together so they weren't alone and checking the car for bombs.

The security situation in the capital has improved since then, and over the past week a US and Russian-brokered cease-fire has brought about the first major lull in the fighting.

Although Webber has no plans to leave the place he has called home for more than four decades.

Comments

 
Muraz Adzhoev | 8/3/2016
What has been so confidently pretty attractive for him during long decades of his life in Syria in terms of political, social, cultural and humanitarian terms and conditions there, human and national rights of the people and communities in particular? Was he satisfied with and did he enjoy the atmosphere of Syrian statehood, which had been actually forcefully created, managed and defended by the authoritarian ruling one single arab family party-regime of militarized nationalistic-sectarian dictatorship? What has he really been waiting for in Syria, if he refused to leave for US, for restoration of old Syria, establishment of new Syria or for separated and divided Syria? What's his best choice?
Domluce | 9/3/2016
And why should he. Syria is his home. Good luck to him.
James Parker
James Parker | 9/3/2016
Seems like a nice man.
Friend | 9/3/2016
Certainly he is not the only US citizen in Damascus, but perhaps the only one registered with the Czech Embassy. There are probably hundreds or thousands of dual citizens.

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