Welcome to Darayya, a suburb of Damascus in Syria with a rich history and a tragic recent past. This city, located 8 km south-west of the centre of Damascus, is one of the oldest in Syria, reportedly the place where Paul the Apostle had his conversion on the Damascus road in the 30s AD. Today, the city has a population of just a few thousand, after years of conflict between the Syrian government forces and the opposition forces. Darayya has seen heavy fighting during the Syrian Civil War, and was an early hotspot for anti-government protests. In August 2012, opposition groups denounced a mass killing by government forces that became known as the Darayya massacre. Despite the constant bombings and conflict, a group of young people founded an underground public library that has amassed a collection of more than 15,000 books. In recent years, the Syrian government has allowed some families to return to their homes after obtaining the necessary security clearances. Darayya is a city with a story to tell, and its tragic past only makes its rich history and culture more significant.

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