The mayor of Raqqa can only dream of. This Morning he stands at the glass facade of the offices on the first floor of the town hall and the ruins landscape looks outside his city. She lies there like the dead from the war. 70 percent lie in ruins, someone has calculated that on the worst city of Syria destroyed. Of how broken the people are on the inside, there is no number.

you have to put up with the Assad dictatorship, to Revolution, shortly thereafter, they found themselves in the hands of the IS. Three Years Of Horror. And then came the liberators, especially the Kurds and the U.S.-led coalition, the bombs took so many here their homes, and as good as any a friend, a family member, some the whole family.

The people in Raqqa, especially local, independent aid organizations to help. Please donate to: IBAN DE90 2007 0000 0469 9500 00 BIC DEUTDEHH – keyword “Raqqa”;

most Dangerous country in the world

it can be seen, The Raqqawis, as they call themselves, have the worst of it. Heads impaled on a fence in the city centre. They were afraid, every day, every night, as if they were kidnapped, all in their own city, they were monsters delivered, to the bombs from the air.

And now, this Morning in may, says Ahmad Ibrahim, the mayor, he believed in the Good in people. “Actually, we know what is right,” he says. “Our ancestors knew it. Deep inside of us we know it too.”


A new daily life in a completely destroyed Syrian Raqqa. The Shop of a tailor (r.) is in ruins, so he shows on the street, which was prohibited under the IS: colorful fabrics for wedding dresses

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Ibrahim is 29. He wants to spend his life here in his home town. He wants to build it up again. He wants to make it.

He dreams that Raqqa will be a model for Syria. A freer, more tolerant place. “To show the world that we are the IS city,” he says. Last Christmas celebrated by the Christians again for the first Time a fair in one of the destroyed churches. The make him proud, says Ibrahim.

in Raqqa, the capital of the IS in Syria, the city in which they sold slaves and attacks planned to be a germ cell of democracy. A second Revolution, a better. In a couple of months, says Ibrahim, is to be held here, in the middle of the most dangerous country in the world, elections.

This is his Plan. At the Moment, still more of a hope.


children playing in the courtyard of the Houari-Boumedienne-school, which was damaged during the fighting. In the house opposite, the religious police of the IS

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Ahmad Ibrahim resided a strong man with a gentle, quiet voice. He rushes on people and makes it so quick steps, as all should feel immediately: serious.

sacrifice to the citizens of

He is someone who comes on his day off to the town hall, he cares, he knows the Details. He knows how many excavators there are at the Moment in the city, a city filled with debris: nine. He also knows how many sick Americans, cars have driven up just for the whole of Raqqa: two. And how much money did his congregation, when the salaries are paid: zero.

Ibrahim can only dream of tolerance, of democracy, but he can also speak in the next sentence about water pipes. Which are the most Urgent, so that its citizens no longer have to go outside to the water tanks. Running water, says Ibrahim, was the top priority. Finally, The Mobile Phone Network. And, as quickly as possible for the houses to be built again. From Victims to citizens.

As Ibrahim says, don’t vibrate, the town hall, an Explosion, far. He jumps up and looks out of the window, a few Hundred meters away, a column of smoke rises. Maybe the clean-up teams have a Mine detonate. Maybe it was a stroke. Or an accident, anywhere in the city has left the IS booby-trapped.


Ahmad Ibrahim, 29, mayor of Raqqa

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no one knows what happened, but on the street, life goes on. The Raqqawis not be alarmed when you hear the Bang.

you are defiant. Do not return back to the camps, the refugee, even if it is your house, you begin to clear away the rubble, the air strikes have left, and you do that often, because you don’t want to wait on the municipal administration, the list is long.

If it runs through Raqqa, people everywhere work, clean up, fix something. You can feel the will. In the centre, in the shopping streets to the Naim-place where IS exhibited the heads of the dead, is the life. First of all, the perfume shop has opened again. The sweet scents of the Islamists are no longer in demand so that people want to smell like Jasmine.

Exhausted from the Survival

in addition, the tailor for the wedding dresses, was not able to work until the liberation, the colorful fabrics were forbidden. Now he has made a rod with clothes in the middle of the road. A colorful speck in the dust, almost a Demonstration: We are still alive.

wedding parties driving through the city honking, you should celebrate again when you get married, even if in some cars Kalashnikovs or pistols are ready for the case that a blended IS a man of the merriment provoked the feels. The city, they say, is still full of sleeper cells.

if you Leave the center, you can also find Ghost quarter in which no one trusts, because everywhere booby traps of the IS hidden, on doors, in children’s dolls, stones, camouflaged, whole streets are without people. And at night, to say the Raqqawis, whether it be of the thieves due to dangerous.


the Only means of transport on the Euphrates river, the small Boats are. Bridges need to be built

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The Raqqawis want to forget and move on, but you have become bitter. Many do not want to talk to journalists, you say: also no one is helping, why should we help you?

you are: tired. Exhausted from the Survival. You don’t distrust Strangers, open like, you have a share in friend and enemy, sensing danger. They have learned, says an old man after the prayer in a destroyed mosque, to stop, to come to terms with it all. So to get through, the man says, so you can survive revolutions, regimes, terrorists, and militias. It is the opportunists that survive.

It smells in Raqqa

The West has moved to the exemption, you can also say: the people left in the lurch. A Budget for reconstruction has painted Donald Trump. Of German aid i is to see n Raqqa nothing.

Ahmad Ibrahim, the mayor knows that he can forget his democracy, if nobody is building new houses. In the next sentence he says: “The houses that have been bombed by the Americans.” And he will be able to do not hold elections to choose if the people are not ready, if you are afraid, or simply not in the mood for politics.

houses to build, people, that’s his Job.

the next Morning, eight o’clock in the morning, as the men of the First Response Team meetings, they wear blue Jackets and red helmets, and they go out six days a week and mountains are the Remains of the Buried.


view from city hall: smoke after an Explosion

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It smells in Raqqa, something Burning, something Sweet is in the air, especially in the streets between piles of rubble, the time houses were. It is the smell of the corpses still lie under the rubble is now over a year and a half after the liberation.

You can see the destruction, if it goes through Raqqa, but it’s the nose that serves as a reminder of what brought the destruction with extinguished life, everywhere. Entire families buried under their collapsed houses.

corpses in plastic bags

neighbors reported to the First Response Team if they suspect under a ruined house of the Dead, the address to the list. Since January, they have recovered more than 700 bodies.

Before you set off, today a young man on it, he wears a flat cap and a beard, and he speaks so quiet that you can hear him barely. He told that his brother was watching yesterday an excavator, as this debris wegräumte. The excavator pushed probably on to something, a non-detonated bomb. It was the Bang you heard in the city hall.

It tore a crater in the earth, the parts of the excavator were flying in all directions, the excavator driver died immediately. And the brother has since disappeared. Whether the helper could come and search for him?


men pray in a destroyed mosque

©Nicole Tung/star

they promise it to him.

Before you go to a house that is on your list, the the IS as a media centre used. Cameras are in-between the chunks of Concrete. Two of the men climb the mountain of rubble and mountains, a child, a girl, the skeletonised skull protrudes from a dress. Put it in a plastic bag.

you are not recovering the bodies, they also give you a grave. At midday, when several of the houses are done, drive the Team to a cemetery. Place the nine body of today in their plastic bags on the ground and speak the prayer of the dead. Then distribute the bags in a ditch and throw earth about it.

directions for use of the everyday

When you are finished, an Old man on you, he’s looking for the grave of his son. One of the helpers on his Tablet the name, in the office, he will see where the son is buried, each Name is registered. It is, somehow, the counter-program to the bombs, which kill indiscriminately. An Initiative against Forgetting of the dead, the rotten months under the rubble, and the smell United, and laid over the city.

in the Moment in which they are buried, they are individual people, each with a private grave with a number and a name.

arrive As a Team to the bomb crater is gone, the man who missed his brother. Neighbors tell, a hospital had reported that the brother was there. Alive. One of the helpers said it was the first good news in months.


clean up: debris of a hospital

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Ahmad Ibrahim, the mayor, during whose in a Kia Minivan through the city. He meets an employee, the painted everywhere in Raqqa walls. Colorful motives on which people give smiling advice: Look to the left and to the right, if you go on the road, or Spill any water you possibly can out of the Tanks.

instructions for use for everyday, for a beautiful new normality, in which the dangers are not bombs and mines, but drivers do not give pedestrians.

Arabs against Kurds

Ibrahim is the first mayor of Raqqa since IS, he didn’t say alone, he must gain authority. He opened the first Meeting of the new chamber of engineers, he is looking at, how far the Work on the water lines. Each time he stays a while and listens. He wants to win the people, for democracy and for this strange new situation in the Arab city of Raqqa in the area of influence of the Kurds.

in Raqqa has been liberated from the SDF, the “democratic forces of Syria”, a group of Kurds and some Arabs. Supported by the West, especially the U.S. air force. The SDF are closely allied with the PKK, which is why the Turkey is called a terrorist organization. In fact, the Kurds are hanging everywhere, pictures of the PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who sits in prison in Turkey.


helper mountains, the Remains of a girl

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these are some of The contradictions, maybe a few too many for the long-term stability. Turkey is doing everything to the hatred of the Arabs fanning the flames, not a few here, the Kurds consider as infidels, as enemies. Arabs against Kurds, the war, the suggests.

Ibrahim, a native of Raqqawi, to ensure that it comes to that. For this purpose, the strange compromise of Islam and PKK. “70 percent of Mohammed and Öcalan are the same,” he says.

He has put in the years of the war, a world view, a flexible. “I have two role models,” he says. “The one of the Prophet Mohammed, has won in the desert the people. The second is Ocalan, the Kurd, whose ideas throughout the Middle East.”

Ibrahim is a man who means well, always looking for solutions, compromises. A reconciler, not a splitter, not a bad choice for this city.

moral code of the Bedouins

He dreams of, he says, back in his office, that the Raqqawis like freedom, and that you tell about it. “We have areas related in the country,” says he, “with whom we are in contact, also in the Regime. If we succeed, then the Syrians to get anywhere.”

Ibrahim says, as he imagines the society, and that tells a lot about Raqqa and Syria. He believes in the centuries-old moral code of the Bedouin. A certain moral Rigor, but also tolerance. Ibrahim finds the West “immoral” in Europe to “sell women” that had morals too loose.

You must not see, says he, that you slide from the Extreme of the IS to the other Extreme of the Morals. Some women in Raqqa are in black and veiled, than the IS would still be in Power. Other make-up flash than ever before, as they wanted to enjoy the freedom, who knows how long she’s staying.


The recovered dead are buried.

©Nicole Tung/star

“people are confused,” says Ibrahim. “We need you back on the right path.”

women as waitresses is not set, for example, that you should not take advantage of the women, which is disrespectful to them. On the other hand, he can imagine that there are to buy in Raqqa, in the future, alcohol, the Christians of the city had a right to it. It is also regardless of whether a woman is veiled or whether she is wearing tight Jeans.

He studied, before the war, Aleppo, and Engineering. Back in Raqqa, he experienced the Revolution and how the IS the city swept over. He acted like the most: the rules hold the family protect to hold out and hope that it is temporary.

zero hour

As the Kurdish militias against Raqqa, he fled with his wife and just-born daughter in the country. He came across a group of Raqqawis, the planned reconstruction. They hired him as an engineer. The group grew, and Ibrahim, that was clear, would make a good chief. Some found him too inexperienced and young to. Others objected that he was a maker, he had ideas, he could motivate people. Since January of Ibrahim, head of the new municipal administration. He is the mayor of the post-war period.


splash of colour: the Graffiti of the Kurdish liberator

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the mayor of The zero hour.

Not far from the town hall, the man sits on his Moped, looking for his brother, he drives through the city, aimlessly, his face is blank. He was in the hospital, he tells, but not for long, because the man said it was his brother, was a Stranger.

A mix-up, there are so many seekers and so many Missing in Syria, there is what must not happen: that is, a hopes that his brother survived, and it is not true. His brother, he suspects it is most likely dead.

The Explosion tore off the outside wall of your house, the family now resides, as issued to the street. And somewhere under the rubble, maybe next door, maybe a Block more, is his brother, and he will every day go past him without knowing it.

And the idea of freedom, a new start, far away. To make a Living, a good house, which he wants, and otherwise, please, let him let the world in peace. He draws on the Moped his flat cap-wide in the forehead, so that his face is hardly more than a shadow, he says nothing more.


you are looking for supplies in the house: Shams al-Ahmad threw in her former kitchen.

©Nicole Tung/star

The USA bombs, if you have troops in the Kurdish ground asked for it. And now: nothing. You sales the IS and leave the Syrians alone. “The Russians remain in Syria,” says Ahmad Ibrahim, “they support Assad. But the West does not want to engage. The West is weak.”

a sacred duty

There are a few sentences that give an inkling of what could come in Raqqa, when Ibrahim fails. Hatred against the Kurds. Hatred against the West. New Islamists with a new name, the fuelling of this mood and take advantage of. The Assad Regime wants to return to Raqqa, its troops are just 20 kilometers away. The Turkey would expel the Kurds from the city and Islamists militia install, such as in Afrin happen. The democratic Republic of Raqqa is still young, and maybe not old.

Ibrahim’s wife would fear for him, her, it to stop, mainly because of the IS sleeper cells in the city. The mayor is a target, an enemy. You ask him if he protects himself, he laughs. No, he did have no people that he lived with his family in a normal apartment.


The mayor in a meeting

©Nicole Tung/star

“Who’s going to make it otherwise?”, he asks. It was his sacred duty.

The sun is almost under, as a woman in a black dress in a bombed-out house on a piece of masonry sits. She sits there, stoically, between the torn pillow, a tattered curtain, a television, a wall clock, in the residual landscape of a life that has ended a bomb. Your Life. Your House.

every day, her husband is away, she fled with her son to Relatives, just before a bomb fell on the house. This saved her and her son’s life. Everything else she has lost.

long beams

The people in Raqqa, especially local, independent aid organizations to help. Please donate to: IBAN DE90 2007 0000 0469 9500 00 BIC DEUTDEHH – keyword “Raqqa”;

It’ll make you sad, come here, she says, but she had to. You are looking for things you need. Old food hidden under the rubble. The whole street is destroyed, you could go anywhere to loot, but it’s always in your own house. Anything else look wrong. She crawls under the debris, pushing it to the side. You this is is just that people can watch her from the street. The woman, who respects their own supplies, excl.

she is 44, and she would not laugh, could you hold them for older, but Shams al-Ahmad no longer begins at once to Shine for minutes at a time, you stop to be happy. She has since found where to change your kitchen, a full bottle of sunflower oil.


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