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Iraq: Swiss Priest Cares for Christia...
Sulaimaniya, Iraq
By Nils Metzger
02 Apr 2015

In August 2014, the Islamic State captured a number of Iraqi Christian towns in the area surrounding Mosul, among them Karakosh, the largest Iraqi city with a Christian majority. Most of its 50,000 inhabitants fled within a couple of hours on August and left most of their belongings behind. Today, more than 100,000 of the already shrinking population of Iraqi Christians have become internally displaced persons (IDPs) or fled to other countries. While most of the IDPs have found refuge in Ankawa, the Christian quarter of Erbil and two large refugee camps near the city of Dohuk, a small monastery in Sulaimaniya opened its doors for more than 200 refugees who have now been living in this very crowded place for more than half a year. A single Swiss monk takes care of them.

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Life in the Largest Syrian Refugee Ca...
Erbil
By Younes Mohammad
30 Mar 2015

March 30, 2015

Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan



Syrian refugees fled their country and arrived in Iraqi Kurdistan looking for assistance and a safe place to settle after the heavy clashes between the YPG and Al-Nusra front that took place in Rojava. The Kawrgosk refugee camp is currently the largest in Iraq but many of the refugees prefer to live on the outskirts of the city of Erbil. Iraq has recorded a total of 19, 844 Syrian refugees in the camps and aid is distributed to them by the UN, NGOs, and local and national bodies.

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German Coalition Advisors Train Peshm...
Peshmerga Training Base outside of Erbil KTCC camp
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
18 Mar 2015

B-roll of target practice and interviews with German trainers and Peshmerga trainees near Erbil.

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Kurdish Gunsmith Fights ISIS with Rep...
Erbil
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
03 Mar 2015

The Kurds’ war against the so-called Islamic State may be grabbing headlines for the battles on the frontline, but far from the fighting the conflict has been good business for 36-year-old Kurdish Erbil gunsmith Bakhtiar Sadr ad-Din Aziz.

Aziz specializes in repairs and custom guns for the Kurds, and Peshmerga are lining up to pick up one of his custom creations, or just to get fixes done on one of their aging AK-47s, M16s or DShK heavy machine guns.

Bakhtiar’s shop is located in the Iraqi Kurdish capital Erbil’s central bazar, and Bakhtiar said it is a family business that was owned by his father, who was once imprisoned by the Saddam Hussein regime for supporting the Peshmerga.

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Kurdish Gunsmith Fights ISIS with Rep...
Downtown Erbil
By Osie Greenway
02 Mar 2015

The Kurds’ war against the so-called Islamic State may be grabbing headlines for the battles on the frontline, but far from the fighting the conflict has been good business for 36-year-old Kurdish Erbil gunsmith Bakhtiar Sadr ad-Din Aziz.

Aziz specializes in repairs and custom guns for the Kurds, and Peshmerga are lining up to pick up one of his custom creations, or just to get fixes done on one of their aging AK-47s, M16s or DShK heavy machine guns. 

Bakhtiar’s shop is located in the Iraqi Kurdish capital Erbil’s central bazar, and Bakhtiar said it is a family business that was owned by his father, who was once imprisoned by the Saddam Hussein regime for supporting the Peshmerga.

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Iraqi Assyrians Denounce ISIS Transgr...
Erbil
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
23 Feb 2015

Opinions of Assyrians in Erbil, Iraq about the abduction of 150 Assyrians in Syria and the destruction of historical artifacts in Mosul.

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IS attack on Makhmour District South ...
Makhmour
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
21 Feb 2015

NOTE: No audio from 3:30 to 4:17

In the evening of Feb. 21st, IS launched their second attack in three days on the Makhmour District 35 miles south of Erbil. The Makhmour District is important to the IS because it is their lifeline to Kirkuk and Mosul. Around 21.00 PM an estimated 200 IS fighters entered the village of Tel Rim. After 3 hours of fighting and 8 airstrikes 63 IS fighters died and IS retreated.

This footage shows Makhmour commander Najat Ali Salih arriving in Tel Rim on the morning of 22 Feb. He surveys the village and boasts about knowing about the attack beforehand because of his IS spies. After seeing many dead IS fighters he leaves the town. On the road back one of the Humvees in his convoy hits an IED and three wounded Peshmerga are driven off.

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Peshmerga Watch Airstrikes Hit ISIS P...
80, Al Kuwayr,Iraq
By Arshed
10 Jan 2015

January 11, 2015
Gwer, Iraqi-Kurdistan

Peshmerga fighters watch as coalition airstrikes hit ISIS positions near the town of Gwer, a town 40km southwest of Erbil.

Fighting between the Peshmerga and ISIS has been ongoing for the last few days but the Peshmerga, with the help of coalition airstrikes, have managed to hold off ISIS attacks and maintain control over the town.

The town of Gwer is likely to be the launch pad for any future attempt by Kurdish and Iraqi forces to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. The surrounding area is also of strategic importance because of the oil refineries and power plants located there.

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Kurdish Women Military Training
Erbil
By mushtaq mohammed
14 Dec 2014

December 14, 2014
Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan

Special units of Kurdish women fighters train with the Peshmerga to fight against ISIS. Video shows the women practicing with various weapons and methods of warfare.

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Iraqi Christians Flee from Mosul
By Arshed
24 Jul 2014

23 July 2014
Iraq, Erbil

After the city of Mosul fell under the control of the Sunni tribes and ISIS, Christians have become very afraid of what action ISIS might take against them. ISIS released a document stipulating that Christians in Mosul had three options, converting to Islam, paying a special tax, or being executed. Those who did not comply to the terms had to leave the newly formed ‘Islamic State’ and all their possessions were confiscated by ISIS. Almost all of the Christian community fled the city in terror and travelled to Erbil and Duhook where they slept in churches.

The video shows two cars carrying a family that arrived from Mosul today after passing through an ISIS checkpoint where their money, jewellery, and car were taken from them.

Abu Youssef, the first speaker, explains their trip from Mosul. However he, along with the priest, refused to appear in front of the camera out of fear that they would killed should they ever return to the city. They were also afraid that their homes in Mosul would be destroyed or burned down if they were seen on camera saying negative things about ISIS.

Due to security reasons, we were not allowed to film the hall on the lower level, where families are staying, or where the kitchen and sleeping spaces are. However, we were allowed to take footage of one room that included a family with special needs (disabilities) and to meet with them and ask them about their situation in their new home.

Interviewees:
Abu Youssef: Father of a Christian family that just moved out of Mosul
Father D. Meti: The priest in Um al-Nour church
Abu Reem: Father of an immigrated Christian family

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Mosul Refugees Describe Their Ordeal
Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan
By Transterra Editor
11 Jun 2014

June 11, 2014
UNHCR refugee camp near Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan

Refugees from Mosul describe their situation at a UNHCR relief camp at an Iraqi-Kurdistan border checkpoint. Included is an interview with an American UNHCR representative.

Vox Pop 1: Catherine Robinson - UNHCR (English)

Vox Pop 2:
“The situation here in the camps is not bad, they [Iraqi-Kurdish Authorities] made a nice reception for us and they distributed the available aid. They welcomed us and they were not delinquent in their treatment of us, they gave us everything we need. This is the third day and the families who are here now number ten. There are people who came and they made them go back and more people are coming on the way”.

Vox Pop 3:
“We are fine and healthy, nobody is neglecting us and we are doing well. We would like to thank you and thank the whole staff for all this work you are doing for us. We came from Mosul, Tal al-Rumman. A day here and six days under the control, and we want to thank them, they brought us here and provided help for us and gave us services and everything”.

Vox Pop 4:
“We are refugees from Mosul and we came here because the situation in Mosul is tragic. We have been here for four days. I thank the Peshmerga here and the people who are working here who are helping us and the UN who have provided the tent I am living in with my children. Thank God for this. We have been here for four days and services are available, the water and the tent and everything, they are providing us with our needs. And it is very safe, I cannot even hear one bullet shot, it is very safe”.

Vox Pop 5:
“My name is Hussein Ali, from Mosul. We have been here for two days, we are humiliated and our situation is bad. What can we do? For two days, yesterday and today, we are sleeping in the car. Yesterday no tents were available, but today we are going to the tents. We have nobody in Erbil to go to Erbil and stay there, but people here were very helpful to us and they did not neglect us. Since yesterday, they help us and respect us. My name is Hussein”.

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Aerial Photo of Erbil
Erbil, Iraq
By Mariwan Salihi
06 Jun 2012

Aerial views of the outskirts of Erbil, capital of northern Iraq's Kurdistan Region.

The city of nearly two million inhabitants is seeing massive developments, thanks to its relative safety , foreign investments and a growing energy sector. In this photo: Royal City, English Village, parts of the Italian City, Erbil Divan Hotel, Erbil Rotana Hotel, Sami Abdulrahman Park and the Erbil International Fairground.