Tal Abyad Street, known as 'White Street', was famous all across Syria before the outbreak of the conflict. It is now returning to its former glory after reconstruction efforts.
In Raqqa, Tal Abyad Street (known colloquially as the White Street), has once again returned to its status as one of the most famous market streets in northern Syria. The reopening of the market street has come in time for the Eid al-Adha celebrations, which will take place between the 21st and 25th August.
“Tal Abyad Street is considered one of the main streets in Syria and not only in Raqqa,” said Khaled al-Dawi, one of the market’s traders. “Before the destruction, the street was a destination for all Syrian provinces. The situation has now improved. Things are getting better [in Raqqa] week by week.”
Although the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Raqqa in its post-ISIS era is moving forward at a steady pace, there is a still a long road ahead before the city can be restored to its pre-conflict condition. On Tal Abyad Street, street lighting is yet to be installed and pits in the road caused by shelling have not yet been repaired. However, Raqqa’s residents and market traders are confident that the street will soon be restored.
“Commercial traffic is very good. Now there are 15 days left before Eid al-Adha and the turnout is good,” said Mohammed Haj Hassan, another of the market’s traders. “All markets are open, from the Tal Abyad main street to al-Quwatli and al-Manour streets. Previously [during ISIS’ occupation], people were scared. Now, day by day, the area is becoming safer. Life is normal and we call on all [displaced] people to return because the situation is good in the city.”
Following the defeat of ISIS in the city in October 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) established the Raqqa Civilian Council to take over the responsibility of overseeing the city’s reconstruction and ongoing internal security. The rehabilitation of the city and its economy has been a top priority for the Council as it attempts to facilitate the return of the city’s displaced population. In addition, the Council hopes to improve the lives of the residents that either remained in the city during ISIS’ occupation, or returned soon afterwards. Overall, residents are pleased with the progress that has already been made and the reopening of the city’s main market street, the White Street, is a welcome development.