The U.S.-backed campaign to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State last summer devastated the city. Almost nine months later, the self-described capital of the Islamic State is still revealing its dead, and returning civilians are blaming the U.S. for neglecting the recovery effort.
To liberate the city from entrenched ISIS fighters, the U.S.-led coalition was forced to destroy it, pummeling the regional capital with more than 4,000 airstrikes and 30,000 artillery strikes over three months, and creating a scene of almost unimaginable devastation, even by the standards of the Syrian Civil War.
Now, the city's democratic governing council, composed of local Raqqawi Arabs, is complaining that the international commitment to the city's recovery is woefully inadequate. And the U.S.-backed local administration is warning that American negligence is causing widespread discontent among the civilians who have returned, boding ill for the future.
The city has no electricity or running water, thousands of bodies lie unburied in the ruins, and every day returning civilians are killed or injured by unexploded munitions.
This segment originally aired July 12, 2018, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.