"Bomb after bomb after bomb." Dima is peeling potatoes in the kitchen when rockets are fired at her house. She loses a leg and two fingers. There are 7 dead. All citizens.

Ar-Raqqah, in the north of Syria, is declared the capital of the Caliphate in 2014 by the jihadist terrorist movement ISIS. It is therefore a great symbolic victory against terror when fighters of the SDF - the Syrian Democratic Forces - liberate the city again on October 20, 2017. To pave the way for this Kurdish-Arab alliance, the city is bombed for 4 months by an international coalition led by the US. Belgium is also part of this. According to the Airwars monitoring group, more than 1,400 civilian deaths occur during the bombing.

Journalist Roel Nollet and Middle East connoisseur Willem Staes travel to Raqqah to record the consequences for the population and the challenges for local organizations.


Roel Nollet

Roel Nollet is a freelance journalist and documentary maker. After studying philosophy at Leuven University, he took a postgraduate course in journalism. He works as a news reporter for the Flemish public broadcaster VRT. His urge to tell stories…

Willem Staes

Willem Staes (° 1990) is Middle East policy officer for the Belgian NGO 11.11.11.
A working grant of € 12.000 allocated on 15/11/2018.
Fonds Pascal Decroos


Rebuilding Raqqah, Vranckx/Canvas, 16/03/2019.