Six months after the Battle for Raqqa left most of the former ISIS capital destroyed, civilians are trying to reclaim their lives — as well as the landmarks where the Islamic State’s horrors took place. Like the Black Stadium.
Under ISIS' rule, the municipal soccer stadium became an infamous torture chamber and prison for infidels. Evidence of how the terror group carried out justice could be seen right outside, where the heads of prisoners were spiked on the iron fence.
But recently, local soccer players have begun to return to the field, some of them even having been held as prisoners in the jail cells below. Talib Ayo Ayash, for one, returned to compete and to recount the nightmare he lived in the locker-room-turned-prison.
"I'm scared to go in because it reminds me of those days," Talib, 19, told VICE News. "I remember the days when I was in prison."
For now, he's staying above, on the field.
This segment originally aired July 19, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.