Abu Yousef and his sons are among only 10 families who have chosen to stay behind in their shelled Christian-Sunni village near Latkia. Others have fled, fearing for their lives Photograph: Zac Baillie for the Observer
Local people describe it as a distant growl, an ever-present rumble, just to the north. A reminder that war is now at their doorstep.
It has been this way for two months in Latakia. The port city had managed to ride out Syria's civil war, seemingly content in the knowledge that whatever was happening in Hama to the south-east, or Idlib a little further north, an army stood between its gates and its foes. Not any more.
The spectre of war is now a reality here in the staunch core of the regime heartland, as much as it is in the rebellious and ravaged Sun