An international aid worker has shared his experiences of visiting a monastery in what is technically regarded as IS-held territory within Iraq.

His blog, ISIS Territory – Smoke on the Horizon, Song in the Chapel, describes the fear he felt leaving behind the last Kurdish checkpoint and his meetings with the monks at Mar Mattai monastery, which was once a popular tourist destination and boasts fine views of the Nineveh Plains.

At one point, he sees smoke rising in the direction of Mosul and wonders whether he should be worried, but then he looks at the priest beside him and notes that “his expression is not nervous, so this is probably just another day at the monastery”.