Locals in Kasrah, in Deir ez-Zour province, Syria, are working together to reopen a park that was destroyed during the three year occupation by ISIS militants.
Deir ez-Zour City and the wider province, which are located in southeastern Syria, was once one of ISIS’ major strongholds in the country. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) recaptured most of the province northeast of the Euphrates River in mid-2017, with just a small pocket of ISIS territory remaining in the east that straddles the Iraqi border. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies were responsible for recapturing most of the province south-west of the Euphrates River. Since these operations concluded in much of Deir ez-Zour Province, stability and security have gradually returned.
In areas of the province controlled by the SDF, a Civilian Council has been established, a feature of the SDF’s rule in other areas of northern Syria under their control. The Council, which is made up of local residents and tribal leaders, have been given the ongoing responsibility for coordinating reconstruction initiatives, as well as maintaining internal security.
Reconstruction efforts in the SDF-controlled parts of Deir ez-Zour Province have so far been successful at rehabilitating the region’s economy, as well as restoring the vital infrastructure that residents are dependent upon.
In Basira, a strategic town located on the intersection of the Euphrates and Khabur Rivers, markets and shops have reopened to customers, signifying an economic revival in the region. The reopening of retail units provides residents with a much needed reliable source of fresh food and other produce.
Kasrah, a large town in the western countryside of the province, is located alongside a major highway that links Deir ez-Zour City with Raqqa City, which is also under the control of the SDF. Locals have been working hard to restore the city’s infrastructure and public services, with a hope to eventually reinstate the town’s status as a market town catering for the entire province.
As part of local efforts to rehabilitate the city after three years of ISIS control and the destruction that ensued during the battle to eliminate the militants, a public park that was destroyed by neglect and war is being reconstructed. “The city used to have gardens and parks and it was very beautiful,” said one of the local volunteers helping to rebuild the gardens. “It has become barren, without trees”.
The Civilian Council has provided the local volunteers with trees to plant, as well as the equipment required for clearing and levelling out the ground ready for replanting.