The Syrian town has paid a high price for liberation from the Islamic State.
This is Kobani. Or what’s left of it.
The Syrian town, which is located on the Turkish border, is in ruins after several months of fierce fighting between US-backed Kurdish forces and Islamic State (IS) that left hundreds of people dead.
Relentless shelling, bombings and airstrikes have destroyed buildings. Abandoned cars and mortar shells litter the streets. Electricity and running water are non-existent.
Yet the Kurdish fighters who declared victory over the IS insurgents earlier this week are celebrating. They have been firing their weapons into the air and dancing in the streets. After four months under siege, their city is liberated.
While relative peace may have been restored to Kobani, the fight against the IS is far from over. The IS has been pushed out, but not defeated.
The US and its allies have launched multiple airstrikes against IS forces around Kobani in recent days, while Kurdish peshmerga fighters from northern Iraq have reportedly been attacking IS strongholds in nearby villages.
But before anyone can even think about rebuilding homes, businesses, schools and hospitals, fighting has to stop and the bodies of fighters and unexploded bombs strewn throughout the town removed. And that will take time.
“It’s hard to talk about any reconstruction at this stage. It will take a long time before people can safely move in, and we need help from the international community,” said Idres Nassan, a senior Kobani official.
It’s hard to know where they would even begin.
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