Families return to Ayn Issa, north Raqqa, after liberation from ISIS

After more than four years, the families of Ayn Issa are returning to their homes in the northern Raqqa countryside after the region was secured by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Ayn Issa is a town and “nahiyah” within the Tell Abyad District of Raqqa Governorate in Syria. It is located halfway between the border town Tell Abyad and the regional capital Raqqa.

In June 2015, Ayn Issa was taken over by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the course of their Tell Abyad offensive. While it was shortly recaptured by Islamic State militants, it was reclaimed by the YPG in early July of that same year.

The SDF undertook all security measures to ensure the return of families to their homes which are still covered with ISIS slogans on their walls, in addition to securing ownership documents for their homes and shops.

Throughout the past four years, the area was a front line of clashes and fighting between ISIS and Kurdish forces, forcing families to leave for more secure areas until the SDF to managed to regain control over the village, and secure the return of its families. The SDF have been engaged in clashes with ISIS across northern and eastern Syria for the last year.