The Foundation of Religious and Municipal Affairs in Raqqa has begun work on reconstructing the city's Great Mosque, which was damaged during the ISIS occupation.
The city of Raqqa, which boasts around 68 mosques, was under ISIS occupation between 2014-2017, leading to the destruction and damaging of a large number of the city’s mosques. ISIS’ disregard for religious and cultural buildings, especially at times of military conflict was laid bare as Raqqa was liberated by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in October 2017.
The Great Mosque of Raqqa, the main mosque located in the city’s centre, was one of the mosques that was heavily damaged in the fight to liberate Raqqa from ISIS. The Foundation of Religious and Municipal Affairs, in cooperation with the Raqqa Civil Council, has begun renovating the Great Mosque, which is gradually starting to resume its former function.
“The Great Mosque was completely destroyed, but we have repaired a prayer room where people are now praying. We have agreed with the Raqqa Civil Council to form a committee of engineers and we have started renovating”, stated a member of the Foundation of Religious and Municipal Affairs.
Raqqa was one of the most badly damaged cities in the fight against ISIS in Syria. It was the epicentre of ISIS rule in the country and its liberation represented a watershed in the downfall of the terrorist group in Syria. The terrorist group damaged much of the city’s infrastructure by planting IEDs and mines. Many of these mines even remained in the city after ISIS was eliminated, representing a serious challenge for the incoming political authorities and security forces.
The reconstruction of the city has been ongoing for around two years and it has involved many aspects, including the reconstruction of general infrastructure, the resumption of basic services such as water and electricity, the clearing of mines and the facilitation of the return of displaced people to the city. The reconstruction of religious and cultural monuments and buildings, such as the Great Mosque, has also taken priority.