The Na'im Roundabout of Raqqa City gained global infamy under ISIS due to its use as an execution spot. Now, local officials are rehabilitating it to return it to the public hangout spot it once was in better days.
Among the most iconic local places in Raqqa is no doubt the Na’im Roundabout, located in the heart of the city. In better days, the roundabout was a known hangout spot. Locals on a day out would often visit here, as well as the surrounding shops. But the roundabout gained new infamy after ISIS took over. The group not only celebrated its victory here, it also used the roundabout for a far more nefarious purpose.
Under ISIS, the Na’im Roundabout became the main spot for executions. The militants would often behead, torture or otherwise punish soldiers and civilians here, leaving bodies behind and heads mounted for all to see. For the locals of Raqqa, the roundabout came to be known as “the Roundabout of Hell”. Many of them say that they would endure longer travel times just to avoid the sight.
The roundabout, where the ISIS reign of terror in Raqqa started, is also where it ended. The Na’im Roundabout was one of the last spots the militants held on to and their defeat here heralded the group’s defeat in the city. However, the war left the roundabout and much of the city centre devastated.
The Early Intervention Team of Raqqa, which was also instrumental in recovering bodies from the rubble, is presently here rebuilding the roundabout. Officials say that rehabilitating it is an important step for the city’s recovery. Beyond the symbolism of turning the page on ISIS, they hope that having an open spot of beauty will help the embattled citizens psychologically.
The lighting work and the creation of the fountains have all been completed and the work on the roundabout is now reaching its final steps. A number of unexpected obstacles, such as tunnels dug by militants, were also found here and covered up. Officials expect that the work will be done within 15 days.