Raqqa was the de facto capital of the Islamic State (ISIS) ‘caliphate’ until it was liberated by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in October 2017.
US-led coalition airpower helped ground forces retake Raqqa, but caused widespread damage to homes, services, and public infrastructure. Reconstruction will take several years and requires massive investment.
Up to 3,000 bodies are still thought to be buried under thousands of tons of rubble. Effort to extract the dead and clear the debris is made harder by explosive remnants and IEDs left behind by ISIS fighters and their commanders.