While many of the city’s buildings bore the scars of war, most were still standing.
The US-led coalition offered some aerial assistance during the Fallujah operation but was less involved than six months ago during the offensive to retake Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, in which Fallujah is also located.
In Ramadi, the UN said that the destruction – which some Iraqi government officials have estimated at 80 percent – was worse than anywhere else in Iraq.
More than 80,000 civilians were forced to flee Fallujah during the operation, so limited damage to the city may offer some hope they can return to their homes faster than Ramadi residents.
“It is still too early to speak of returns for the tens of thousands of civilians who fled from Fallujah,” said Nasr Muflahi, Iraq director at the Norwegian Refugee Council.
“We urge prudence and restraint in the communications with the displaced families as we have seen how, elsewhere, areas recaptured by Iraqi forces are still unsafe,” he said.
Muflahi said a thorough mine-clearing operation needed to be undertaken to determine which areas were safe.
When it retreats from an area, IS systematically rigs homes with booby traps and plants roadside bombs.