The families returning to Libya's ruins, against the odds

The city, once home to 80,000, was smashed repeatedly as it passed from one side to another in the decade of violence since the 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi. More than 3,000 families fled.

Four years after being cleared of IS gunmen, many buildings remain flattened, as if by a giant fist.

"We'd listen to the municipality's promises, who every time would say they would help us return in a year, then two years, or after a while they would help us pay rent to reduce our suffering. But we saw no result," Mokhtar told Reuters. "They were fake promises. We decided with our neighbors to return to our homes, to fix them in any way, and to try to live in them."

Despite the uncertain path ahead, the Mokhtar family have found brief comfort in being home again, in spite of the state it is in.

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