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

Pamela Engel

Over the summer, ISIS 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.

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