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RAQQA, Syria: Raqqa is still mostly a sinister ghost town of gutted buildings and rubble-strewn streets but there is one place teeming with activity in the Syrian city: Ammar Qassab's falafel shop.Once home to around 300,000 people, Raqqa's neighborhoods were empty when it was declared retaken in mid-October.Three months on, despite the lack of infrastructure and the lingering threat of unexploded mines and bombs, a trickle of residents – some few hundred families – are attempting to return.King Falafel, across from the famed Haroun al-Rashid park, was itself a food landmark in Raqqa for more than four decades.It stayed open even after militants took over the city in 2014 but had to close a year ago as fighting to oust Daesh got closer.Hassan left Raqqa two years ago with the rest of the city's Kurdish minority, and King Falafel was one of his first stops when he returned to his hometown.Iman al-Faraj, 40, returned to Raqqa almost three weeks ago to find nothing standing from her beloved home except a single room.
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