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Middle East matters

Returning to Raqqa, a city still in ruins

A year ago, the US-led coalition drove out the Islamic State group from the northern Syrian city of Raqqa. With the jubilation wearing off, the hard realities of reconstruction are starting to bite. Meanwhile, IEDs continue to litter the streets, and many residents remain traumatised following a battle that levelled the city.


Meanwhile, international home-renting company Airbnb has said it will remove settlement homes in the occupied West Bank from its listings. These settlements are indeed a violation of international law. The move has been praised by Palestinians, while Israel has called it shameful. The Israeli government, meanwhile, has threatened legal action against the US company.

And in Lebanon, some 250,000 domestic workers are employed from some of the poorest countries across the world through a controversial sponsorship system known as kafala. These helpers at times endure physical, psychological and even sexual abuse by their employers. But one artist, Chaza Charafeddine, has decided to shed light on their plight through an exhibition, which portrays ten domestic workers in the clothes and poses of public figures they admire. She tells us more.

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