Ten Years on, Raqqa’s Residents Wonder Who the Next Ruler of their Battered City Will Be

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What began in March 2011 as peaceful protests against President Bashar Al-Assad quickly escalated into a full-blown war that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. In 2013, Raqqa became Syria’s first provincial capital to fall entirely to rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighting to bring down the regime. The city then became a stronghold of the Islamic State group (ISIS) before the militants were driven out by the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Now, some residents wonder who their next ruler will be, with some fearing that a return of the Assad regime is inevitable.