Hundreds of families from Kobani returned home on Thursday in the largest influx since an Islamic State car bomb attack on the city in June killed more than 200 residents.
The June triple suicide car bombing in downtown Kobani came six months after the Islamic State lost the Kurdish-majority city a handful of kilometers from the Turkish border in months of fierce fighting with the YPG and backed by some rebel fighters and international coalition strikes.
"IS meant to stay here, to continue the destruction of the city, but it realized its victory was impossible,” one of Thursday’s returning residents told Mustafa Abdi, who was there to photograph the scene.
The majority of Kobani was damaged during the fighting, but the city is slowly being rebuilt and citizens continue to return.
“The city has seen a relative stabilization in terms of security, and there are now basic services available like electricity, water, health, and education services,” Zara Misto, the director of the Kurdish news website Walati in Kobani, told Syria Direct on Thursday.
Returnees expressed shock at the level of destruction in their city, said Abdi.
“I don't believe what I'm seeing in front of my eyes, what a great violence befell our city,” Abdi quoted one resident as saying.
A member of the Kobani Reconstruction Coordinating Body noted in a press conference Wednesday that the city had moved on to the “second phase” of reconstruction, which would include building 1,300 residential buildings, among other projects.