Syrian efforts to rebuild homes, infrastructure faces challenges

World Today

FILE – In this Friday, July 28, 2017 file photo, a Kurdish man mourns as he sits next to the grave of his friend who was killed while fighting against Islamic State militants in Raqqa, at a cemetery in Kobani, Syria. While Iraq’s Kurds have sparked confrontation with their drive for independence, Kurds in Syria are making major advances toward their more modest goal, entrenching their self-rule.(AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

As Syrian forces close in on ISIL militants in Raqqa city, Syrian civilians have begun rebuilding in areas where ISIL has already been expelled.

But reconstruction efforts have been complicated by the large number of displaced refugees, and by the absence of government support.

CGTN’s Tony Cheng reports.

Lake Assad, on the edge of the mighty Euphrates River was the scene of a bitter fight with ISIL. That battle lasted for 50 days. The lake is a site of great strategic importance.

The largest hydro-electric dam in Syria, just outside the town of Tabqa, used to provide a significant amount of Syria’s energy. Since the fighting began, it stopped producing electricity. ISIL blew up the electricity generators in the dam as they fled.

The authorities in Tabqa are trying to restart the generators, but they have neither the expertise nor the equipment.

Rebuilding after ISIL is proving an enormous challenge. People are living in the rubble of apartments and homes. 

Many have come to the area, to escape the fighting in Raqqa and Deir Ez Zor. 

Farida Abdullahal Hasan and her eight children are now living there.

It’s a struggle to keep things clean, but it’s a roof over their heads, albeit a precarious one.

“It was very difficult for us to stay in the camp. We have teenage daughters and my husband and his brother are both blind, so it was very difficult to stay inside a camp,” Hasan said.

The brother of a building owner said he thinks the government in Damascus should be trying to fix this because people are living on the edge of disaster.

But he also blames the U.S.-led coalition for their heavy-handed response in an area he said where there were just 35 ISIL militants.