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A CITY IN RUINS

A visual tour of the price Raqqa paid for its freedom from ISIL

Reuters/Rodi Said
More than 200,000 have left Raqqa.
  • Johnny Simon
By Johnny Simon

Deputy Photo Editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Raqqa, the Syrian city that served as the “capital” of the Islamic State, was liberated this week by a US-backed coalition of militia groups. While initial wire photos from the ground depict the scene as jubilant, with soldiers waving flags atop tanks riding through the city, the city itself has been decimated by months of airstrikes and street battles.

The New York Times reports (paywall):

A victory in Raqqa has come at a heavy cost. Much of the city has been devastated by American-led airstrikes that killed more than 1,000 civilians, according to tallies by local activists and international monitors. In earlier years, many were killed by Russian and Syrian government strikes. About 270,000 residents have been displaced by the fighting, and thousands of homes have been destroyed.

Photos from Reuters offer a street-level view of the battered city. On nearly every corner, there are buildings either hollowed out or leveled to the ground.

Reuters/Zohra Bensemra
A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) soldier stands guard during the fighting with Islamic State militants in Imru’ al-Qais, a district of Raqqa, on Aug. 11.
Reuters/Rodi Said
SDF fighters walk together along a damaged street in Raqqa on Sept. 16, 2017.
Reuters/Rodi Said
A damaged neighborhood in Raqqa on Sept. 16.
Reuters/Rodi Said
An SDF fighter takes near the rubble of a damaged site in Raqqa, on Sept. 25.
Reuters/Erik De Castro
A view of Raqqa’s Old City, destroyed during a battle with Islamic State militants on Oct. 1
Reuters/Erik De Castro
A view of Raqqa’s Old City destroyed during a battle with Islamic State militants on Oct. 1.
Reuters/Erik De Castro
An armored SDF vehicle in Raqqa, on Oct. 5.
Reuters/Erik De Castro
A bridge destroyed by an air strike on the outskirts east of Raqqa, Syria on Oct. 5.
Reuters/Erik De Castro
SDF fighters walk down a road in Raqqa, Syria on Oct. 5.
Reuters/Erik De Castro
An SDF fighter runs for cover from sniper fire on Oct. 7.
Reuters/Erik De Castro
A vehicle destroyed by a coalition air strike in Raqqa on Oct. 7.
Reuters/Erik De Castro
An SDF fighter stands guard on a road in Raqqa on Oct. 6.
Reuters/Erik De Castro
An SDF armored vehicle in Raqqa on Oct 8.
Reuters/Erik De Castro
SDF fighters march past destroyed buildings as they celebrate victory and liberation of Raqqa from Islamic State militants, in Raqqa, Syria on Oct 17.
Reuters/Erik De Castro
SDF fighters ride atop military vehicles,  celebrating victory in Raqqa on Oct. 17.

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