Tags / Militias
Tawergha is a Libyan coastal town about 300 km west of the capital Tripoli. It used to be home to nearly 40 thousand people. After Muammar Gaddafi was toppled, thanks to the help of NATO, the militias of nearby Misrata (40 km west of Tawergha) forced the entire population of Tawergha out and completely destroyed the town.
Tawerghans are Libyan Sunni Muslims just like the rest of the population however they are black. The Misrata militias accused them of fighting for the Gaddafi regime. Since 2011 not a single Tawerghan has returned home. For the last five years they have been living in makeshift camps scattered around Libya. Four such camps, home to nearly 4000 people, are around Tripoli. These photos are of the airport road camp, home to more than 2000 men, women, & children.
Photos show Syrian government forces and allied militias, like the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), in the recaptured town of al-Qaryatain on April 4, 2016 following clashes with Islamic State (ISIS) fighters. The town, which lies in central Syria and close to the city of Homs, was under ISIS control for eight months.
Oum Ali secures the center of Al-Qaryatain fighting with a group from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP). The Syrian Army and its allied militias recaptured the village from ISIS on April 3, 2016 following three months of fighting.
A private house in Al-Qaryatain damaged by the fighting between Islamic State fighters and Syrian government forces. The Syrian Army and its allied militias recaptured the village from ISIS on April 3, 2016 following three months of fighting.
Syrian soldiers walk through al-Qaryatain village as they pass by a wall with graffiti written in Arabic that can be read: "The Islamic State, Lasting and Expanding". The Syrian Army and its allied militias recaptured the village from ISIS on last Sunday night, April 3, 2016 following three months of fighting.
Two Syrian soldiers rest in the village of al-Qaryatain after three months of fighting with Islamic State fighters. Inhabitants have fled and the houses have suffered serious damage during the combats. The Syrian Army finally recaptured the village on April 3, 2016 after a two-day offensive in coordination with allied militias.
A soldier awaits with his unit to enter al-Qaryatain following the recapture of the town by the Syrian Army. The village was under Islamic State control for eight months, which ended on April 3, 2016 after government forces launched a two-day offensive in coordination with allied militias.
Syrian soldiers burn an Islamic States flag found at al-Qaryatain village. The Syrian Army and its allied militias recaptured the village from ISIS on April 3, 2016 following three months of fighting.
A group of Syrian soldiers rest after two days of fighting against Islamic State militants in al-Qaryatain. The Syrian Army and its allied militias recaptured the village from ISIS on last Sunday night, April 3, 2016 following three months of fighting.
Syrian soldiers observe the destruction in a building in al-Qaryatain. The Syrian Army and its allied militias recaptured the village from ISIS on April 3, 2016 following three months of fighting.
Completed over the course of three trips to Ukraine in 2014/15, this multimedia piece explores the heavy silence of war - away from the war porn of frontline fighting and Western-Russain power plays. With Ukraine slipping back into the corrupt era of Yanukovich, the anxious wait for reforms, true independence and peace continues.
“Exit,” Semyonovka Psychiatric Hospital.
Shells land 20 kilometers away. Four months later, in January 2016, a separatist rocket attack a few blocks away kills 30 civilians.
Separatists’ diversionary raid on a railway bridge leaves passenger trains stranded in Mariupol, Donetsk region. After many months of idleness, the bridge was finally repaired.
[Radio chatter] Separatist positions report ‘111’ – ‘All clear’. Other call signs are ‘110’ – we’re being attacked; and ‘112’ – We’re attacking. It is believed, that the previously stationed Chechens and Don Cossacks have been replaced with regular Russian military combatants.
Ukrainian street musicians perform a song by a
Russian rock band, ‘Splin’
I want to fall asleep and never wake up
go away into the sea and not come back
or come back, but together
With you so much more interesting
with you so many interesting things around
and not even tight (suffocating)
Without the squares, railway stations, stops
without all these civilisations
One more sip - and we’re on fire
on one, two, three
Burn with fire, your third Rome
catch my rhythm
and dance, dance, dance, dance
The patrol passes along the village streets, dotted by drunk civilians and military personnel – a sign not so uncommon even before the war. Somewhere in the vicinity, a high ranking Ukrainian officer was assaulted and kidnapped with his armed escort a week before.
Sergei sits during night watch on the Permovaisk frontline, prepping his gun at the slightest noise in the distance; remains of an exploded 80mm mortar shell is a few meters away. In the morning, his face bathes in the warmth of a late summer’s sunrise.
“What a beautiful day, we all woke up alive.”
Sergei died on September 23rd during a skirmish, one day before he was due to return home.
“I came here to replace the guys who have been here for months without rotation, so someone can go home - not because I’m some big Ukrainian patriot,” says Vladislav, stationed in Zolote.
Even before the war, the old mining village was poor, with crumbling buildings dotting the streets. Now, with even less people remaining, pensioners gather for a daily market - made up of 5 stalls, overshadowed by a modest Lenin statue. Three blocks away, Ukrainian soldiers occupy the vacant houses, which are shelled on a nightly basis.
“One year ago, the commander put tanks in the first line, as if it was the Second World War; now you have accurate weapons – the whole crew died,” says one of the commanders.
The decrepit reminder of the war ruins the beautiful vista over the steppes of Donbas. Yet, the war is still on going, the steppes are the buffer zone, and the current trenches still scar the landscape, two meters behind the tank.
Away from the headlines of Western-Russian power plays and war porn of frontline fighting; away from boys with a cause, imperial ambitions and the spectacle of war. What’s left is the chilling wait and anxiety. The sluggish nightmare immerses anyone unlucky enough to be caught up close – families stuck in the buffer zones, blaming elusive fascists,
as their men fight for the elusive Russians. The nightly grind of staring into the darkness of a frozen conflict, confined to the trench and radio transmitting enemy reports of your own movements; the sweeping apathy back home.
While Ukraine is slipping back into the corrupt era of Yanukovich, Eastern Ukraine is trapped in a disaster, which shows no signs of letting go. The anxious wait for reforms, true independence and peace continues.
The night passes peacefully, with sporadic pot-shots fired from the opposing lines; the Ukrainians do not respond. Without appropriate night-vision gear, the watch is spent chewing through bags of seeds – siemki, and a constant flow of tea and, if available, coffee.
Weapons sit idly, as the soldiers rest before the nightly grind.
A view from the Permovaisk frontline.
After months without rotation, the prospects of an entrenched warfare remain bleak. Stationary frontline attritions grind is more reminiscent of World War One, than a 21st century battlefield. Faced with increasing apathy from their own society in Ukraine, many soldiers turn to bottle, or worst - chair and a rope – even if the problem has not yet reached epidemic proportions.
17 year old Suzan Hamo is a Kurdish girl from Kobane, Syria. She fled her home in Kobane after IS fighters attacked the town in the early hours of Thursday June 25, 2015. She says her house was set on fire and she received burn wounds as a result. Suzan is now receiving medical attention in Suruc.
June 25, 2015
Footage taken from the Turkish side of the border shows sporadic fighting between the Kurdish YPG and the IS fighters. Kurdish sources say that IS fighters remain encircled by the YPG in Kobane, in two positions. Reports say that the IS have positioned themselves in a school and have taken hostages there. No exact figure on the number of the hostages were given.
Fighters belonging to Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi 'Popular Mobilization' militia battle ISIS in southwest Anbar Province.
Video shows heavy clashes in the Om Ayn neighbourhood in Aden between tribal militias loyal to Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Houthi fighters backed by units of the army supporting former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The battle left at least three fighters and dozens of people from both sides injured.
The bodies of killed Yarmouk Camp residents, which have been discovered under the rubble, had to be buried in a playground because the main cemetery was plowed by air bombing.
Syrian government forces bombed the camp with explosive barrels at the same time as heavy clashes pitted ISIS fighters against various Palestinian and Syrian militias.
Footage and interviews from Ukraine front lines.
Despite a ceasefire brokered in Minsk between Russia and Ukraine and the pulling back of heavy artillery on both sides, warfare doesn't stop in eastern Ukraine. Russian proxies and regular army continue shelling at Ukrainian forces' positions on daily basis. In the meantime, UA president Poroshenko announced UA volunteer battalions withdrawal from the front lines in eastern Ukraine. Soldiers of the regular UA army fear this decision will turn to many death among UA soldiers that remain to serve there: "The enemy is strong and UA must ensure even stronger defense instead of withdrawal". The following three stories aim to highlight:
1) Who is really supports UA army;
2) What challenges UA soldiers face on the front lines;
3) Why UA soldiers think UA president Poroshenko's decision on "withdrawal" from the front lines is wrong
We have heard and read a lot about volunteers providing food, medical supplies, and other essentials for the Ukrainian soldiers at the front. At the same time the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and government officials have claimed that the government is doing its job in supplying the soldiers with everything they need. EMPR has decided to see for ourselves how things stand in regard to how well the soldiers in the battle zone in eastern Ukraine are being taken care of. In our search for the truth and to bring our readers a firsthand account our correspondent spent two days with a volunteer group in the Donetsk oblast. We want to share with our readers the remarkable, unique system the volunteers have worked out to provide aid to the patriots of Ukraine who with their strength of spirit, desire for justice and often with their own lives are defending our land from the Russian invaders.
Meet the charitable organization "Mother's Watch" in Kyiv. Here volunteers collect aid for the Ukrainian soldiers. Here protective camouflage nets are made, bread and cakes and meat pies are baked, stuffed dumplings and meat balls are cooked, and soup and borshch ingredients are dehydrated. This is where our journey accompanying the volunteers from the "Association of Ukrainian Veterans of Afghanistan" begins. The group of veterans delivers the goods to the soldiers at the front.
We leave Kyiv at night and by morning we arrive in Donetsk oblast. Our first stop is a small village where 11 divisions of a mechanized infantry battalion are based. Here we leave half of the goods. The battalion has been here for three months already. They are tired. And waiting for their rotation to end. Next we're off to the see the "Right Sector."
Music is in the air as volunteers from the organization "Mother's Watch" weave camouflage nets for the soldiers and sing their hearts out. Soon the vans arrive. Food, water, and other essentials are loaded into the vans. By the next morning the vans are at the front. They are unloaded and the goods are distributed among the soldiers. The soldiers tell us that if the volunteers did not bring them the supplies they need the army would not be able to keep going for more than two weeks.
The soldiers of the Ukrainian Army share with the volunteers all the ceasefire violations the opponent has committed, the problems within the army, and their thoughts on how and by whom Ukraine could be helped in the war against Russian aggression.
In February, 2015, Andrei Hrachev, a combat doctor with the 93 Battalion together with other soldiers addressed an appeal to the President of Ukraine in which they called on the president to bring order to the country, to get rid of corruption, and to fulfill the pre-election promises. The appeal was full of obscene language but it hit record highs in popularity. Andrei Hrachev became an Internet star. In March, 2015 Petro Poroshenko issued an order that the volunteer battalions Right Sector and OUN must either become a part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine or leave the battle zone. Here is Andrei Hrachev's response to the President's order.
Pavlopil and its 200 remaining inhabitants are stuck between Ukrainian and separatists frontlines. Devoid of jobs, schools or local amenities, the villagers attempt to co-exist. Days are spent farming and sitting in the front yards; it takes too long, and costs too much to get into neighbouring city of Mariupol.
“We share what we have – yes, you could say it’s real communism,” says one of those remaining.
Some families, however, did not have even the smallest luxury of a roof over their heads – their homes were destroyed in subsequent artillery duels.
Near Donetsk Airport, Peski is one of the main flash-points on the front lines of Ukraine's conflict, defended both by the Ukrainian Army and the far-right Pravy Sektor. Despite pulling back their heavy arms, pro-Russian separatists continue to attack the town with lighter munitions on a quotidian basis.
Our contributor brings us a look into life on the front lines, where the bloody battle continues despite the ceasefire brokered between Russia and Ukraine.
FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
A soldier from the far-right Pravy Sektor stands amid the rubble in front of the administration building in downtown Peski, just over a kilometer from Donetsk Airport.
A church in downtown Peski has been damaged amid fighting.
A 9 year-old boy continues to live in this half destroyed village with his parents.
A dog left behind in Peski is fed by the Pravy Sektor soldiers.
A woman shows us her apartment in Peski on March 17, 2015. She has been living in basement for many months.
A check point controls traffic at the entrance of Peski, a kilometer and a half from Donetsk Airport.
A soldier stands guard at the Ukrainian check point named "Bridge Republic" in Peski.