BEIRUT — For nearly three years, Raqqa, Syria’s sixth-largest city, served as a slaughterhouse for the Islamic State (IS). Today, Raqqa is an emancipated wreckage. It was liberated Oct. 17 by a US-backed alliance of mainly Kurdish-Syrian fighters. IS forces are now physically defeated, but their shadow continues to darken the lives of those who will forever remember the apocalyptic horror, savagery and bloodbath.
Foza, who refused to reveal her last name, is a 36-year-old mother who escaped Raqqa at night and is now among the thousands of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. “I put my 3-year-old daughter on my shoulders and my 12-year-old son put his younger brother on his back and we crawled over dead bodies in our neighborhood to escape the militants,” she said.