Destroyed during the battles between ISIS and the SDF in 2017, the iconic Old Bridge of Raqqa is being rebuilt. The bridge has already been opened to foot traffic, easing the lives of thousands who were forced to rely on expensive and unsafe ferries.
Along the banks of the Euphrates south of Raqqa City, work is in progress to rebuild the Old Bridge, which links the city and the northern countryside of the province to the south, including important cities such as Tabqa. Although work on the bridge has not yet been completed, it has already been opened to foot traffic, significantly easing the lives of the locals who had to rely on ferries to cross the river before.
Like many parts of Raqqa City, the Old Bridge, which has been one of the mainstays of the city for decades, was destroyed during the battles between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and ISIS militants in 2017. Following liberation, reconstruction work started in July 2018 after being declared a priority due to its importance linking the two halves of the province.
With the bridge destroyed, many locals have been forced to cross the Euphrates using makeshift ferries. These ferries, however, were not only expensive – charging SYP1000 for each crossing – but also highly dangerous. The ferries are low-quality and have often broken down or sank, costing people their properties and even their lives. Many people afraid of drowning have opted to wait for the bridge to be rebuilt instead. Such fears are especially pertinent in light of the Mosul ferry disaster last week that killed more than 100 people.
While work on the bridge is continuing, the opening of the bridge to foot traffic has already been a source of relief for many locals. They now hope that the work can be finished in its entirety, allowing people to use the bridge as they did before the war.
The reconstruction of Raqqa’s Old Bridge is among the recent examples of reconstruction in the city, which has also witnessed the rehabilitation of the Na’im Roundabout from an execution spot into a public spot and memorial.