Jarablus, a city in northern Syria near the Turkish border, is one of the few places to rebound after fighters from ISIL were defeated with help from Turkey.
More than six years of war in Syria means it will take massive reconstruction efforts to rebuild cities that have been reduced to rubble.
But construction is booming in Jarablus, where a local council runs education, health and sanitation services.
The city’s population has grown from 25,000 to 70,000 since Syrian fighters and Turkish soldiers retook it last year.
Residents said they have a relative sense of safety because they no longer fear air raids or bombings.
Children are happy to resume their studies in the local school. However, there are still challenges. Teacher Umm Mohammed said students have been out of school for years and must begin with the basics.
Like most things in the town, the Jarablus’ hospital is under Turkish administration, while NGOs from Turkey are providing assistance.
Many in the city said they do not see Turkey as an occupying force, welcoming its influence to help improve the situation in the city.
Ankara also provides training and money to support a local police force, tasked with keeping security and the peace between various groups of fighters.
A mother whose child was being treated at Jarablus’ hospital told Al Jazeera: “If God fixes this situation, [the children] might have a better life.”