Residents of the Syrian city of Raqqa talk about the quick recovery and progress that their city has made in the short time since the defeat of ISIS.
ISIS was expelled from the city of Raqqa just over a year ago in the second half of October in 2017, when the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) accomplished its military campaign against the terrorist group. Since then, the city of Raqqa, which was considered to be ISIS’ de facto capital in Syria, has gone through leaps and bounds to redevelop following the destruction caused by the terrorist group and the liberation battles against it.
Several reconstruction projects were launched immediately after the liberation to rebuild homes, facilitate the return of people who had been displaced from the city, remove the rubble that was present as a result of the military clashes, and rehabilitate the general infrastructure of the city, including water and electricity systems.
Many of these efforts were managed by the Raqqa Civil Council, which was established straight after the liberation in order to administer the city’s affairs in line with the general political establishment in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, commonly known as Rojava by the majority Kurdish population.
“As soon as I entered the city, which is my country and the place where I grew up and lived, I felt terrible, because I did not expect that the rubble would get cleared from the city and that people would return. I was surprised, a few months after it was liberated, the rubble was removed and the streets were cleaned gradually, and people began to come back. However, after several months, the work done has been unbelievable”, said Abdul Karim al-Karim, a resident of Raqqa city.
The rehabilitation of the city has been extended to all sectors of the economy and society. Schools have been rebuilt and a new curriculum has been imposed on all areas governed by the regional political establishment. The economy has also picked up thanks to the reasonable level of security in the city, especially since most of the mines that were left behind ISIS were dismantled.