LEBANON — A nervous few hours in a Tripoli in Northern Lebanon is mercifully behind us. The second city after Beirut, it is a place with many ISIS supporters. Sitting like lemons outside the Port Gates for eight hours in a small cafe — drinking coffee right next to a main road — is very much not where you want to be.

As Elias said: “Alex, you are worth a lot of money to them. Can you believe? I mean, so much money.”

“Yes,” I say to Elias. “I can believe.”

“The Islamic State,” he replies, distaste fully coating those words around his mouth like gritty pebbles.

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The troubled journey to safety for Syria’s middle class