The last American registered as living in the capital of Syria said he has no intention of leaving the war-ravaged country.
Thomas Webber was born and raised in Orchard Park, a suburb of Buffalo, New York. But since 1975 the 71-year-old has been living in Damascus where he teaches English at the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle high school several times a week, The Associated Press reported.
"I'm the only true American," he told the AP, a claim corroborated by the city's Czech embassy, which has handled U.S. interests in Syria since 2012. "There are many Syrian-Americans, American-Syrians but, I'm the only true American left in Damascus at this time."
Most foreigners fled the country during the chaotic early months of the five-year-old conflict. While fighting has raged elsewhere, security in the capital has improved. A U.S.-Russia-brokered cease-fire has brought the first serious lull in fighting across the country.
Webber said he takes precautions, such as checking under his car and keeping a lookout while driving, but he is determined to stay in Syria for the rest of his life.
"There's no way that I'm going to leave this country," he told the AP. "They're going to have to carry me out. And they're never going to do that because I want to be buried here, already got my site. No I'm enjoying it very, very much here."