Despite the slow progress, life is gradual returning to the city of Raqqa, which is in the process of being reconstructed and revitalised, just over two months since its liberation from ISIS.
Residents of the city note that the provision of clean water is of primary importance at this moment in time. Several sectors of the economy rely on the provision of water. The lack of clean water also has a significantly negative impact on the health of the residents.
Services and businesses are slowly re-opening their doors, although the lack of electricity is hampering efforts by residents to get the local economy running again.
Aside from the issues of water and electricity, there are still corpses spread across the city and heavily damaged infrastructure that requires reconstruction. Despite efforts by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to clear all the mines in the city of Raqqa, these still remain and residents report continued deaths as a result of these mines that have been left behind by ISIS militants who were roaming in the city just a few months ago.
Nevertheless, people from Raqqa are continuing to return to their homes as waves of people who had been displaced as a consequence of the clashes between the SDF and ISIS are now permitted to return to secured zones. There are, however, a number of neighbourhoods within Raqqa that are still out of bounds due to security concerns.
The city of Raqqa was considered by ISIS to be their capital in Syria and it was their most prominent stronghold in the whole country. It was also the point from which the group expanded into eastern Syria and Iraq over 3 years ago.
Raqqa was liberated from ISIS hands in mid-October after over 4 months of clashes between ISIS militants and the predominantly Kurdish but multi-ethnic and multi-religious SDF, the military representing the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (or Rojava, as described by Kurds of the region).