A Syrian soldier surveys damage at Mar Elian monastery in Al-Qaryatayn, near the central city of Homs.
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Destruction, razed monastery left behind by Daesh in Syria townSyrian troops fired their guns in celebration amid smoldering buildings inside the town of Al-Qaryatayn Monday, hours after recapturing it from retreating Daesh militants who had abducted and terrorized dozens of its Christian residents. An Associated Press crew was among the first journalists to enter the Syrian town and witnessed the destruction wrought on the once-thriving Christian community and its fifth-century monastery, which was bulldozed by the militant group last summer.As it came under militant attack, many of the Christians fled. More than 200 residents, mostly Christians, were abducted by the militants, including a Syrian priest, the Rev. Jack Murad, who was held by the group for three months.A Syrian soldier showed journalists an ID apparently left behind by a Daesh militant from the nearby town of Mheen.
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