The residents of the city of Tabqa in Syria are celebrating Eid al Adha by going out to celebrate in the markets and streets.
After almost a year and a half after the defeat of ISIS in Syria’s northeastern city of Tabqa, its residents have flocked to the streets to celebrate the beginning of Eid al-Adha. The defeat of ISIS in the city has ushered in an economic revival, with shops and markets remaining open late into the night to provide Tabqa’s residents with supplies and gifts for the Eid al-Adha festivities.
“This is al-Tabqa market and these people are living happily,” said Thaer al-Raashel, one of the market traders. “We have electricity and water. We were oppressed, but now we are happy. We have been besieged for five years, I am one of the people who fled but returned. We do not lack anything.”
Prior to the defeat of ISIS by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in May 2017, Tabqa was regarded as a stronghold of the militant group due to its close proximity to the militants’ former de-facto captital city, Raqqa. Following SDF’s decisive victory against the militants, thousands of Tabqa residents who fled from the onslaught of ISIS in 2014 returned to their homes. Since then, local residents have formed organisations in collaboration with the local Civilian Council to rehabilitate their city.
One such organisation, called Better Hope, cleared the city of its rubbish and debris shortly after the return of peace. Their work has not only improved the appearance and hygiene of the city, but it has also enabled the city’s major roads to reopen and has contributed to the economic growth that the city has experienced over the past 16 months.
Better Hope has also opened a new college in the city that teaches vocational skills, such as electrical installation, plumbing and agriculture, to the city’s young residents free of charge. The volunteers behind Better Hope expect that the newly trained students can contribute to the reconstruction of both Tabqa and the province of Raqqa.