DEIR EL-ZOUR, Syria – Syria’s Deir el-Zour is rising from the ashes after a grueling three-year siege by the Islamic State group.
That’s the case even though rounds of machine-gun fire are still heard on the outskirts as Syrian government troops push out remaining IS fighters.
The liberation of Deir el-Zour on Sept. 5 brought relief to the tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the four government-controlled neighborhoods that have been surrounded by the extremists since 2015.
The Syrian government estimates about 70,000 people have survived on erratic air drops of food and supplies during the siege.
A market has sprung up in the city center where locals are selling second-hand goods or the scarce produce they grow in their yards. Shoppers stop by to drink lemonade and eat falafel.