Syrian town tries to rise from ashes after ISIS defeat

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Drone footage shows Syrian town of Kobani lying in dusty ruin

But a bakery and schools have opened as families begin to come back

CNN  — 

They called it Kobanigrad, the destruction was so complete. Months of coalition airstrikes and ISIS bombing flattening some parts of the town, leaving others uninhabitable. The question so many asked during the fighting was what would the spoils of victory be?

Kobani: A grim victory in the battle against ISIS

Now, however, Kobani is trying to rebuild again, the sheer extent of the task ahead revealed by drone footage shot by cameraman Gabriel Chaim.

Idriss Nassan, a spokesman for the Syrian Kurds, who again control the town, said by telephone: “It is 70 percent destroyed. The problem is that we do not have enough machinery to remove the debris or materials with which to rebuild. The cost will be billions.”

But he says that, despite the damage, civilians are starting to come home in increasing numbers. “The most that have returned in one week is 6,000, and we now have 60,000 civilians in the city and countryside around it.”

A bakery, two schools and a private hospital are operational, Nassan says, but that they face a major hurdle. The rebuilding and resupply efforts are still complicated by the main border gate with Turkey being closed, he says.

Turkey had a complex relationship with the battle for the town, caught between its publicly perceived imperatives of not wanting ISIS to thrive too close to its borders, but also not wanting Kurds allied to a group it calls terrorists to win too convincingly either.

Nassan says that the gate is vital as ISIS – while significantly pushed back – remains at all their other flanks. He says they are 40 kilometers (25 miles) away on the eastern and southeastern fronts, adding they are also distant in the West.

Life in the rubble of Kobani