This is what ISIS' longest-held city looks like after years of occupation

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Back to business in Falluja

ISIS just lost control of the first city it seized during its 2014 rampage across the Middle East.

The occupation of Fallujah was the terrorist group's first step toward establishing its self-declared "caliphate." The Iraqi city reportedly held a special meaning for ISIS, making fighters reluctant to inflict the type of damage the group had done in other cities.

But while the level of destruction in Fallujah doesn't match that of Ramadi, a city about 40 miles west of Fallujah that ISIS lost control of earlier this year, the city is still a shell of its former self.

The fighting between the jihadists and Iraqi security forces (backed by US airpower) left many buildings destroyed, and thousands of civilians fled during the onslaught.

Reuters has photos of what the city looks like now.

19 PHOTOS
What Falluja looks like after years of ISIS occupation
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What Falluja looks like after years of ISIS occupation
A view is seen of streets in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A view of streets in Falluja, Iraq, June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Destroyed buildings from clashes are seen on the outskirt of Falluja, Iraq, June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Damaged buildings are seen from clashes in Falluja, Iraq, after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
Damaged mosque is seen in Falluja, Iraq, after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
A view of a street in Falluja, Iraq, after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
Members of Iraqi government forces celebrate on a street in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A member of Iraqi counterterrorism forces walks with his weapon in Falluja, Iraq, June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A member of the Iraqi counterterrorism forces stands by an Islamic State militants weapons factory in Falluja, Iraq, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A member of the Iraqi security forces looks at explosives abandoned by Islamic State militants at a school in Falluja, Iraq, June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Rocket-propelled grenades left behind by Islamic State militants are seen at a school, following clashes in Falluja, Iraq, June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A book belonging to Islamic State militants is seen in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Burnt out prison cells belonging to Islamic State militants are seen in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A burnt out prison cell belonging to Islamic State militants is seen in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Members of the Shi'ite Badr Organisation inspect a factory abandoned by Islamic State militants, in Falluja, Iraq, June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A member of the Iraqi security forces tears up a signboard of the Islamic State militants in Falluja, Iraq, after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Iraqi counterterrorism forces pose for a picture in Falluja, Iraq, June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A fighter from the Iraqi Shi'ite Badr Organization holds his rifle in an underground tunnel built by Islamic State fighters on the outskirts of Falluja, Iraq, May 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
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