The northern city of Raqqa was known as the "hotel of the revolution", since it served as a safe haven for thousands of Syrians who fled war-torn towns across the country.
Raqqa remained relatively peaceful until the end of 2012, when rebels launched assaults in different parts of the province and later took control.
An estimated 35,000 people have fled Raqqa. Those who remain suffer from both the government’s bombardment and from rebels' mismanagement.
Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simons reports from Raqqa city.