The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liberated the city of Raqqa on the 16th October 2017 after a gruelling battle that lasted approximately four months, and forced the majority of what was left of the population of Raqqa to flee to nearby towns, villages and refugee camps, safe from the fighting and terror.
The SDF, a multi-ethnic paramilitary group made up of Kurdish fighters and Arab tribal members, launched a large-scale, multi-pronged military campaign known as the Wrath of the Euphrates operations, in November 2016. The group managed to take back hundreds of towns and villages in the rural areas of the province from the terror group, until they eventually launched the assault on Raqqa City itself, in June 2017.
By October 2017, the SDF had successfully liberated the city from the militants, and put an end to the group’s tyrannical reign. The defeat crippled ISIS and forced the group to go underground and retreat to remote areas in the Syrian desert.
Since the liberation of Raqqa from the militants, numerous civil society-led projects have been launched by mostly young volunteers from the city to help revive and bring life back to their city after years of terror and oppression under ISIS. Under the group’s rule, Raqqa residents lived in fear and were forced to comply with the group’s puritanical rules that forbade them from even the most simple recreational activities.
Furthermore, ISIS’ isolationist policies and obsession with war decimated the state of public services in the city and left the economy in ruins as businesses collapsed and the prices of commodities soared tremendously. This forced tens of thousands of people to flee the city in search of better prospects.
However, since the liberation of the city, 200,000 people have returned to their homes, 3 public hospitals and 8 private hospitals were rehabilitated as well as clinics, medical points and pharmacies. Additionally, shops have re-opened and businesses have been revived.