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As ISIS shrinks, Syrians return home to find wasteland

Hajin, Syria (CNN)Two boys in their early teens swing sledgehammers, knocking down what remains of a wall. Another is hauling pieces of wood across the rubble-strewn dirt in front of the house, or what was the house of Qais Diab Al-Sharina. One week ago, Al-Sharina and his children returned to their former home in the town of Hajin, on the Euphrates River in eastern Syria. A coalition of US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Kurdish soldiers and Arab tribesmen liberated Hajin from the so-called Islamic State in December. In the process, nearly every building in Hajin's centre was damaged or destroyed. "Life was hard under ISIS," said Al-Sharina, a man in his forties. "But it's still hard, harder still with this destruction." The back wa ...