11/07/2017, 10.03
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Hundreds of families return to Raqqa after the expulsion of Isis

Returns to the former jihadist stronghold in Syria have begun. The first phase concerns the eastern district of Al-Meshleb, cleansed of explosives left by the militiamen. Land reclamation work continues. In recent days, several civilian deaths due to detonation of mines.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Hundreds of civilians have returned to the war-torn neighborhoods in Raqqa, Syria, for years strongholds of the Islamic State (IS, former Isis). According to sources from the US-led coalition, the protagonist of the massive bombings that hit the area, this is the first big wave of re-entry since the beginning of the de-mining operations of explosives left by the jihadists.

On October 17, the Caliphate militias lost control of what their bastion was for a long time in Syria at the end of long months of battle against the Syrian Democratic Forces (FDS). Tens of thousands of people have abandoned the city for the offensive, reducing Raqqa to a "ghost town" of destroyed buildings.

In a popular note at these times by FDS leaders, hundreds of families have "returned to al-Meshleb", the eastern district of the city. "They were able to return to their homes," he adds, "after expert teams have completed the demolition of the entire district by explosives left indiscriminately in civilian houses by the SI."

Al-Meshleb is the first district of Raqqa to see the return of residents since the city’s "liberation from Daesh", the Arabic acronym for IS. Following the flight of militia, Arab-Kurdish forces sealed off the area to carry out land reclamation.

In recent days there have been cases of civilians who have violated the entry ban and have died in the explosion of mines.

The de- mining and reconstruction work is coordinated by the Raqqa Municipal Council, a provisional administrative body chosen by the FDS leaders and located outside the city. Some residents have come back, Omar Alloush, one of the members of the Council, said, "but the city has not yet been completely cleared from mines."

At the peak of its expansion, the Islamic State controlled about half of the territories of Syria and Iraq, although it was mostly desert areas. Today in Syria some small ramparts scattered in the Euphrates Valley remain in their hands. In nearby Iraq they were defeated at a military level, but local fighter cells still remain active.

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