Even after its liberation from the so-called Islamic State, this city in northern Syria remains draped in jihadist black banners. Anything and everything might be rigged with explosives, and often it is, so people don’t rip down flags without thinking first.
As I visited the scene of battle repeatedly over the weekend, the sound of explosions rocked the city again and again. Sometimes, I was told, they were blasts carried out to get rid of booby traps and IEDs. Sometimes they were bombs people missed until it was too late.
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