Having defeated ISIS militarily, the people of Raqqa are removing all elements of the terrorist group's former rule, especially its ideology.
Hairdressers, as the one shown in this video, used to be at great risk during ISIS rule in Raqqa, which lasted between 2014-2017. Any manifestations of a lifestyle that ran counter to the totalitarian ideology espoused and imposed by ISIS were heavily repressed and punished, leading the local residents of Raqqa to an underground life for around three years.
ISIS doctrine was especially strict with regards to women, who were restricted from appearing in public and were severely punished for any “infringements” of ISIS-imposed laws.
However, things are very different now in Raqqa. Young people are donning modern hairstyles, women are frequenting beauty salons, and public life is as vibrant as it was, if not more, before ISIS rule.
Following the expulsion of ISIS from the city, a new political system has been put in place under the governance of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. The Raqqa Civil Council has been administering the affairs of the city since its liberation by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in October 2017.
The Autonomous Administration has implemented a policy of requiring both a male and female co-chair for each political institution in the region, in order to bring more women to decision-making positions, in stark contrast to the misogynistic form of governance implemented by ISIS.
Culture has also played a big part in the post-ISIS rehabilitation of Raqqa city. The literary scene, bringing together artists, writers and critical thinkers who were once heavily suppressed under ISIS, has been blossoming since liberation.
The rehabilitation process in Raqqa following ISIS rule has not only been limited to political and social changes, but has also seen a focus on the reconstruction of the city, whose infrastructure was heavily damaged. This has included the reconstruction of roads, the rehabilitation of electricity and water networks, as well as the restoration of cultural and historical sites.