University of Raqqa liberated by SDF

The University of Raqqa is liberated by SDF fighters after it was shut down by ISIS more than 5 years ago.

The “Great Battle” waged by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to end ISIS invasion in Raqqa continues on day 95. Clashes between SDF fighters and ISIS have been focused in the city center while the fighters continue their advance in the eastern and western fronts. SDF fighters have taken some 70% of the city under control and have now liberated the University of Raqqa in the Eastern front.


The University of Raqqa in the city center is one of the buildings that shows the deep marks left behind by the 5-year long enslavement. The university has been documented for the first time in 5 years when enemies of science and enlightenment ISIS invaded the city and shut down and banned all educational institutions and schools in the city.


ISIS shut down many elementary and high schools in the city center as well as the university and used the buildings as centers that spoils of war were collected in. The main entrance of the university was adorned with a sign in Arabic that read, “Spoils Collection Center” and Raqqans confirm that this is the purpose it was used for. The university has a large campus, and there were alumni of the very school among the YPJ fighters who first entered the university.


Desks and chairs were gathered in one place near the entrance to collect dust and the boards have names of ISIS properties on them. ISIS flags were drawn on the walls of the university building. There are some murals on the entrance wall of the university. In one of the murals, a dark human silhouette is looming over the map of Syria. In another, a boy with a backpack is depicted painting weapons. The dark side of ISIS is also painted on the walls and a significant detail is that pictures of Bashar Assad who claims to fight ISIS also appear on the walls.


The university campus is made up of dozens of buildings, and other faculty buildings have also suffered the effects of the clashes. On the outside perimeter of the university, ISIS-prepared bomb-laden vehicles still stand as they were. The university sign has not suffered too much damage, save for a few scratches here and there. Right across from the yellow buildings of the university stood the most important Shia mosque in Raqqa, but the Veysel Karani Mosque was blown up when ISIS invaded the city.


The University of Raqqa was built by the Syrian regime in 2004 and had some 10.000 students. There are pharmacology, engineering, mathematics, law, economics, Arab literature and various other faculties and departments in the university. Every year hundreds graduated from the university which used to have connections with several international universities.