Life has become tense in the village Hurfah and Khara in the rocky hills of the Golan Heights.
GV Israel front line camp with armoured vehicles and tanks positioning (3)
GV & SV Israeli troops praying (3)
SV & CU Damaged buildings in village (2)
CU Woman villager talking
SV Villagers running for shelter through doorway (2)
GV & CU Villagers in shelter huddled together
GV Villagers walking in streets (3)
GV Damaged section of village PAN TO Front Line in distance
Initials SC/039 SC/103
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Background: Life has become tense in the village Hurfah and Khara in the rocky hills of the Golan Heights.
The villagers now find themselves a few kilometres (miles) from the frontline between Syrian and Israeli troops, and apparently in the line of crossfire.
For nearly three weeks now, shells have been falling in and around the village making it difficult for the villagers to work in their fields, and creating a noticeable and constant atmosphere of tension and fear.
When the October war last year began, most of the villagers followed their Druze faith and stayed close to their land. But today, a separation of forces between Israel and Syria cannot come soon enough.
A few days ago, a Syrian shell landed on one of the few reinforced concrete buildings in the village of Hurfah and a woman was crushed to death inside. A few days earlier, four villagers were wounded in another shelling.
The inhabitants of the two villages are all Druze, part of mystical sect that broke with Islam in the 11th century, and believe that Jethro, father-in-law of the biblical Moses, was the prophet of God.
The villagers -- some of whom have sons in the Syrian Army -- try to lead as normal a life as possible, tending their flocks when things are quiet, while the children go to school.
But their hill-top homes command a clear view of the long-rang artillery and tanks which have been duelling almost daily around them. The distant sound of shooting serves as a constant reminder that shells could drop any time.
The villagers have cabled the United Nations asking for its help to stop the shelling of the village, and to provide adequate shelters.
But until the fighting ends, the pounding of shells and the constant fear of death remains part of the villagers' daily life.