In March 2022, the work planned in Raqqa, in the Cooperation Project to strengthen capacities in the preservation of the heritage of which it was the capital of the Islamic State, was completed. Project carried out by RehabiMed, jointly with Heritage for Peace and financed by the British Council.
In November 2021, the project began with a visit to Raqqa, during which meetings were held with the President of the Autonomous Region of North and East Syria, the Minister of Culture and the Mayor of Raqqa. Walking through its streets, we had the opportunity to know first-hand the current situation of a city totally devastated as a result of attacks by the international forces fighting ISIS. Fighting damaged more than 80 per cent of civilian buildings and, once ISIS was ousted, the city was abandoned to its fate and its inhabitants survive without having practically any international support for its reconstruction and suffer the blockade to the Al Asad regime, despite the political autonomy of this region of Syrian Kurdistan. We had the opportunity to verify the magnitude of the tragedy experienced and the great needs of the population and to rebuild thousands of buildings.
It was based on this knowledge of the site that we were able to shape the project and focus the few resources available in three essential areas: training actions for administrations and professionals in the sector, rehabilitation of three buildings and awareness-raising activities. both of the authorities and the population, with regard to heritage and identity values that the city conserves, which can contribute to its recovery. As a result of the actions developed by the project we can highlight the training of more than 50 local professionals in different areas of cultural heritage and its preservation; on the other hand, these new experts have taken charge of the rehabilitation of three buildings that now offer a social role for the city’s inhabitants and the war refugees in this region. Another activity has been raising awareness in schools, “madafas” or a video presentation of the objectives and results achieved by the project. A great task remains to be acomplished in Raqqa to restore a dignified life to people who suffered under the yoke of Islamic fundamentalism and the destruction wrought by the international army. A debt that the international community cannot belittle.