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Yezidis Demand Return of Loved Ones H...
By rsoufi
15 Apr 2015

Kurdish Yezidi refugees in the Sharya camp near Dohuk in Iraqi Kurdistan took part in protest against the continued detention of their community members by ISIS. The protest was part of a campaign launched by the Yezidi Lalesh Cultural Center and other organizations. These protests coincided with the Yezidi New Year, also known as "Holy Wednesday", which is celebrated on the first Wednesday of April. Thousands of colored balloons carrying written heart-felt messages were released during the sit-in. The refugees wrote “My wish is to celebrate the holiday with my mother,” and “Our holiday is your return” among other slogans.

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Kurds Mourn the Deaths of British and...
Derik, Syria
By TTM Contributor 33
14 Mar 2015

The body of Ashley Johnson, an Australian fighter in the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG), was taken from Syria to Turkey at the Derik border crossing. Johnson, who joined the YPG six months ago, was killed on 25 February when the Kurdish militia retook the strategic town of Tal Hamis in northeast Syria from ISIS.

This video shows the procession in which Johnson’s body was taken from Syria to Turkey. It also shows the body of former British Royal Marine and Peshmerga fighter, Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, who died on March 4, being taken from a hospital in the Kurdish city of Derik to Iraqi Kurdistan through the Simalka border crossing. Scurfiled was also killed in the battle to retake Tal Hamis.

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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...
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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ISIS Beheaded Her Father
By rsoufi
16 Feb 2015

The family of a kidnapped Kurdish soldier found out about of his death through a video of his beheading, released by ISIS on January 26. Houkan Surji was captured by the jihadist group after he was wounded in battle on August 6, 2014. Over the six months of his imprisonment his family had absolutely no contact with him and only found out about his death via an online video.

The Transterra Media contributor visited the family home in the village of Berdsur, east of Dohuk and found that they were in the process of moving house. Donors from their community came together and bought the family a new home elsewhere in Dohuk, as their old house held too many painful memories.

This public video released by ISIS is an edited version of the beheading:


The family of a kidnapped Kurdish soldier found out about of his death through a video of his beheading, released by ISIS on January 26. Houkan Surji was captured by the jihadist group after he was wounded in battle on August 6, 2014. Over the six months of his imprisonment his family had absolutely no contact with him and only found out about his death via an online video.
The Transterra Media contributor visited the family home in the village of Berdsur, east of Dohuk and found that they were in the process of moving house. Donors from their community came together and bought the family a new home elsewhere in Dohuk, as their old house held too many painful memories.

SOUNDBITE (Woman, Kurdish) Avin Hojam, daughter of Kurdish fighter decapitated by ISIS
00:07 - 05:06
How did you father treat his family?
He treated us very well.
He treated us well and was jovial. He treated all his relatives and friends with innocence and a spirit full of love and appreciation.
When he headed to fulfill his military duties, did you not stop him from going to the battlefield?
No, we did not, because he was defending the honor, dignity and land of Kurdistan. My father was willing to defend the land of Kurdistan for the sake of honor and dignity.
There are other people who were killed by ISIS. What do you think of this, given that ISIS claim to be Muslims?
They are not Muslims. Had they been Muslims, they would not have treated Muslims like this. Did your father communicate with you while he was on the frontline fighting against ISIS? Yes, he spoke with us all the time.
How did you find out that he was detained by ISIS?
We knew that he was with a group of people, some of whom were killed while the others were injured. My father was among the injured. He was shot in the leg and taken prisoner by ISIS. They took him on August 6, 2014 and on January 26, 2015, he was martyred by ISIS.
When your father was on the front, what did he talk to you about?
He spoke about honor, dignity, and his willingness to die to defend the land of Kurdistan.
When he was at home, did he use to talk about the frontline as well?
Yes, he spoke with us a lot about that.
What do you think about ISIS practices, especially with Yezidi women?
These acts are unfair, whether they are committed against Muslims or others.
What do think should be done to correct this situation?
I call on all people to defend Kurdistan and protect their honor and dignity. I even call on civilians to head to the frontlines.
How many members are there in your family?
We are six boys and five girls.
Who supports your family at the moment?
All of our relatives, as well as benefactors, offer us help.
Do you need anything?
Our situation is good at the moment. The government and benefactors have offered us a lot of aid.
Do you feel that your family lacks anything after your father died?
Can you talk about the void that your father’s [death] has left in your life?
It had a great impact on us. We had not seen him for six months, during which he was detained. We were always avidly waiting to know what he had in his heart. We wanted him to tell what he was thinking. We are very touched and realize quite well the void he has left in our life.
Have you received his body?
No. We were longing to see him and we had not received any call from him for six months.
While he was detained, were you not able to communicate with him?
No. I swear to God, we did not receive any news of him from August 6 to January 26, 2015.
What would you like to say to the Islamic State group?
They are not Muslims. Had they been Muslims, they would not have acted as such.
What would you like to say to the international community?
I pray that my father’s blood does not go in vain, and that work is done to give us his body. I pray that these countries are not allowed to exist in any country.

SOUNDBITE (Kurdish, Man) Issa, the cousin of the Kurdish fighter Hojam, decapitated by ISIS
00:03 - 03:20
How did you find out about Hojam’s killing?
I knew through Facebook.
Did you see the video of his execution?
What did you see and how did you feel?
I was moved a lot.
I was very moved because he was killed in an unusual way.
What did you feel that moment?
I swear to God that I wished to have revenge against them and exterminate them.
How can you describe this [act]?
This is an inhumane act.
It is an inhumane act and even infidels do not do what these monsters have done.
What do you think should be done?
We call on foreign countries, such as the international coalition, the United States, Britain, Germany and France to strike and exterminate them.
Does this mean that this is not a personal issue?
No, it is not a personal issue. Even though the person who killed Hojam was Kurdish, he belonged to ISIS.
Do you mean that this danger affect everybody.
Yes, this is a danger that affects everybody – Arab countries, foreign countries and everybody else.
Do you think that Hojam’s killing has caused a void in your family?
No, no. God willing, there will not be any void.
Are you part of the Peshmerga?
We are all part of the Peshemerga. Those who were not part of the Peshmerga are now part of it.
In which area do you perform your duties with the Peshmerga?
In Zumar, which is near Tal Afar.
Was Hojam in Zumar?
No, he was in Oweiza.
Where was he taken prisoner?
In the Shallallat area.
After that, what did you hear about him?
No… We know that he was alive, but we did not know any information about him until he was killed.
Did you not try to have him released with the mediation of certain people or Arab tribes?
We tried a lot, with all our means, but it was in vain. They are not part of a government or a state and nobody can deal with them.
How do you think this organization should be dealt with? What do you think about its future?
By God, in the future they shall fail. They have no future. God willing, they will be destroyed.
What about the future of these children?
They are not guilty of anything; they have been betrayed.
What would you like to say to the world?
We say that the countries of the coalition, the Gulf and all the other countries should stand against these people.

لقاء مع أفين هوجام أبنة المقاتل هوجام الذي ذبحته داعش :

السؤال (00:07) كيف كان تعامل والدك مع العائلة؟ (00:09) الجواب (00:10) والدي كان جيدا جدا في تعامله معنا (00:11) السؤال (00:12) كيف (00:13)؟ الجواب(00:15) كان جيدا في تعامله معنا وكان مرحاً معنا وكان يتعامل مع الجميع من أهله وأصدقائه ببراءة وروح مليئة بالحب والتقدير (00:33) السؤال (00:34) عندما توجه إلى واجبه العسكري في المعركة ألم تمنعوه عن الذهاب إلى جبهة القتال؟ (00:40) الجواب (00:41) لا .. لا لم نقله له ذلك لأنه كان يدافع عن شرف وكرامة كردستان ويحمي أرضها.. كان والدي مستعدا للدفاع عن كردستان من أجل الشرف والكرامة (00:56) السؤال (01:00) هناك ناس آخرون أيضا قتلتهم داعش كيف ترون هذا الشيء بينما يدعي أعضاء التنظيم أنهم مسلمون؟ (01:10) الجواب (00:11) هؤلاء ليسوا مسلمين، وإن كانوا مسلمين فيجب ألا يعاملون المسلمين بهذا الشكل. (00:15) السؤال (01:17) عندما كان والدك في جبهة القتال ضد داعش هل كان يتواصل معكم؟ (01:23) الجواب (01:24) نعم كان يتواصل معنا بإستمرار(00:27) السؤال(01:28) كيف عرفتم بأسره من قبل داعش؟ (01:319) الجواب (00:31) نعم علمنا أنه كان مع عدد من الأشخاص بعضهم قتلوا والبعض الآخر أصيب بجروح وكان والدي من بين الجرحى وأصيب رصاص برجله عندما أعتقله مسلحو داعش وأخذوه في يوم (6 من شهر آب 2014). تم أسره. وفي يوم (26 كانون الثاني 2015) استشهد على أيدي داعش (01:53) السؤال (01:55) عندما كان والدكم في الجبهة وكنتم تتواصلون معه عن ماذا كان يتحدث معكم؟ (02:00) الجواب (02:01) يتحدث عن الشرف والكرامة والإستعداد بالتضحية من اجل حماية أرض كردستان لحد الموت (02:10) السؤال (02:11) وعندما كان في البيت هل كان يتحدث عن جبهات القتال أيضاً (02:24) الجواب (02:25) نعم كان يتحدث معنا كثيرا عن ذلك (02:27) السؤال (02:29) كيف ترين ممارسات داعش إتجاه هذه الأعمال خصوصا تجاه النساء الإيزيديات أو غيرهن (02:42) الجوال(02:43) هذه الأعمال غير عادلة، لا مع المسلمين ولا مع غيرهم (02:45) السؤال (02:46) كيف ترين السبيل إلى معالجة هذه الأوضاع؟(00:49) الجواب (02:49) أدعو جميع الناس إلى الدفاع عن كردستان وحماية شرفهم وكرامتهم، وادعو حتى المدنيين للتوجه إلى جبهات القتال (03:00) السؤال (03:01) كم يبلغ عدد أعضاء أسرتكم؟ (03:05) الجواب (03:06) نحن 6 أولاد و5 أخوات (03:08) السؤال (03:09) من يعيل أسرتكم حالياً؟ (03:10) الجواب (03:11) الجميع من أقاربنا والناس الخيريين يقدمون لنا المساعدة (03:16) السؤال (03:18) هل تحتاجون حاليا إلى أي شيء؟(03:22) الجواب (03:24) وضعنا جيد حاليا الحكومة والأشخاص الخيريين قدموا لنا المساعدة كثيرا (03:27) السؤال (03:28) بعد مقتل والدك هل تشعرون أن شيء ما نقص من عائلتك(03:42) الجواب (03:43) نعم (03:44) السؤال (03:44) هل بإمكانك التحدث عن الفراغ الذي تركه والدك في حياتكم (03:55) الجواب (03:56) كانه له تأثير كبير علينا .. لم نره بقي ستة أشهر معتقلا في السجن وكنا دائما تواقين لمعرفة ماكان في قلبه ليقول لنا قبل رحيله. نحن متأثرون جدا وندرك جيدا الفراغ الذي تركه في حياتنا (04:14) السؤال (04:15) هل استلمتم جثته؟(04:15) الجواب(04:16) لا .. نحن كنا مشتاقون لرؤيته ولم نتلق أي اغتصال منه منذ ستة أشهر (04:22) السؤال (04:24) عندما كان أسيرا ألم تستطيعوا الاتصال به؟ (04:27) الجواب (04:28) لا لا والله منذ يوم 6 آب وإلى 26 كانون الثاني 2015 لم نتلق أي خبر عنه(04:34) السؤال (04:37) ماذا تريدين أن تقولي لتنظيم الدولة الإسلامية؟ (04:44) الجواب (04:45) أنهم ليسوا مسلمين وإذا كانوا مسلمون كيف يتعاملون بهذا الشكل (04:49) السؤال (04:50) ماذا تريدين أن تقولي للمجتمع الدولي؟(04:54) الجواب (04:54) أدعو أن لا يدع دم والدي يذهب هدرا والعمل على تسليمنا جثته وأن لايسمح بوجود هؤلاء الوحوش في أية دولة(05:06)

2 مقابلة مع (عيسى ) أبن عم المقاتل هوجام الذي ذبح من قبل داعش

السؤال (00:03) كيف عرفت بمقتل هوجام (00:06) الجواب (00:07) عرفت بواسطة الفيسبوك (00:11) السؤال (00:13) هل رأيت المشهد عن كيفية قتله(00:13) الجواب (00:14) نعم (00:14) السؤال (00:15) ماذا رأيت و بماذا شعرت؟(00:16) الجواب (00:17) والله تأثرت كثيرا(00:18) السؤال (00:18) كيف (00:18) الجواب (00:19) والله تأثرت كثيرا لأنه قتل بشكل غريب (00:24) السؤال (00:25) يعني ماذا كان شعورك في تلك اللحظة؟(00:28) الجواب (00:29) والله كنت أتنمى الإنتقام منهم وإبادتهم (00:34) السؤال (00:35) كيف يمكنه وصفه؟(00:36) الجواب (00:38) هذا عمل غير إنساني (00:39) السؤال (00:40) كيف؟ (00:41) الجواب (00:41) عمل لا إنساني وحتى الكفار لايمارسون العمل هؤلاء وحوش (00:47) السؤال (00:48) برأيك مالذي يجب فعله؟ (00:49) الجواب (00:50) نحن نطالب الدول الأجنبية مثل دول التحالف و أمريكا وبريطانيا وألمانيا وفرنسا بضربهم وإبادتهم (00:59) السؤال (01:00) هذه ليست قضية شخصية؟(01:01) الجواب (01:01) لا ليست قضية شخصية، صحيح أن الذي قتل هوجام كان كرديا لكنه ينتمي لداعش (01:07) السؤال (01:08) تقصد أن هذا الخطر يطال الجميع؟ (01:09) الجواب(01:10) نعم هذا خطر على جميع الناس وحتى الدول الأجنبية والعربية وعلى الجميع(01:17) السؤال (01:22) هل ترى أن مقتل هوجام أحدث فراغا في عائلتكم؟ (01:25) الجواب (01:26) لا لا إنشاء الله لن يحدث أي فراغ (01:31) السؤال (01:32) هل أنتم أعضاء في البيشمركة؟ (01:32) الجواب(01:33) نعم نحن جميعا بيشمركة والذي لم يكن ينتمي للبيشمركة أصبح ضمن البيشمركة(01:39) السؤال (01:45) في أي منطقة تؤدي واجبك في قوات البيشمركة؟ (01:46) الجواب (01:46) في منطقة زمار القريبة من تلعفر(01:49) السؤال (01:50) وهل كان هوجام في منطقة زمار؟(01:50) الجواب (01:51) لا كان في منطقة بعويزة (01:52) السؤال (01:52) وأين أعتقل؟ (01:54) الجواب (01:54) في منطقة الشلالات (01:57) السؤال(01:58) وبعدها ماذا كانت أخباره؟ (01:59) الجواب (02:00) لا .. كنا نعرف أنه حي لكننا لم نعرف أية معلومات عنه لحين قتله (02:10) السؤال (02:11) ألم تحاولوا إطلاق سراحه عبر تدخل أو بواسطة بعض الأشخاص أو روؤساء العشائرالعربية؟ (02:18) الجواب(02:19) والله حاولنا كثيرا وبكل إمكانياتنا لكن دون جدوى هؤلاء ليسوا حكومة ولادولة ولا أحد يستطيع التعامل معهم (02:35) السؤال (02:36) برأيك كيف يكون التعامل مع هذا التنظيم وماهو مستقبله؟ (02:45) الجواب (02:46) والله هؤلاء مستقبلهم فاشل ولا مستقبل لهم إنشاء الله وسيدمرون (02:53) السؤال (02:54) وهؤلاء الأطفال كيف سيكون (مستقبلهم)؟ (02:55) الجواب (02:56) لا ذنب لهم وهم تعرضوا للغدر(03:01) السؤال (03:03) أنتم ماذا تريدون أن قوله للعالم (03:11) الجواب (03:12) نقول لهم قوموا بوجه هؤلاء يا دول التحالف ودول الخليج العربي وكلهم (03:20)

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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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Peshmerga Liberate More Areas of Moun...
By rsoufi
24 Dec 2014

December 24, 2014
Sinjar, Iraq

Yazidis from the area of Sounoun return to their homes after being trapped on Mount Sinjar since the beginning of August 2014. The Peshmerga has liberated much of the area, home to around 140,000 Yazidis, and are patrolling the area to protect the civilians.


Khodida Elias - Yazidi man
A Peshmerga fighter
Ahmad Fares - Yazidi man
Salem Kheder - Yazidi man

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Syrian Refugee Nurse Gives Help to Ya...
Mount Sinjar
By rsoufi
23 Dec 2014

December 21 2014
Sinjar Mountain

Khansaa Shamdeen Ali is a is a young Syrian Kurdish surgical nurse who became a refugee in Iraqi Kurdistan. Hearing of the desperate plight of Iraqi Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar under siege by Islamic State forces she volunteered to provide medical help to the Yazidis. Khansaa was transported to the mountain by military helicopter where she remained for three months tending to the medical needs of the hundreds of people unable to leave the area and Peshmerga fighters who were defending the mountain..
During this time she built a strong bond with the Yazidis and the Peshmergas. Khansaa says she does not want anything in return for work and she is just happy to have been able to help.

Khnassa assures that she does not want anything in return of her favors and she is just happy to serve the refugees.


Interviewer: All the medications are available with you?

Khansaa: yes of course, Dr. Nizar is doing the best he can to provide all the medications.

My name is Khansaa Shamdeen Ali, from Syrian Kurdistan, Derek area in Al-Hasakeh province. I have been here for three months, I treat the Yazidis and the Peshmerga fighters. Sometimes i get 400 patients per day, I have a very good relationship with them, and with the Yazidis.

I am also a refugee, my family is residing in Dar Shokran. When i heard about the situation, i immediately came to the health directory of Dohuk and spoke with Dr. Nizar, and I asked him to allow me to help the Yazidi refugees, so he said that they support me and they are willing to help me with whatever I need, I told them that I want nothing but to help people. Dr. Nizar helped me with everything, I stayed in Khaneqi for a month and after that i came here to the mountain, i have been in the mountain for three months now. I volunteered here to serve my country and help the Kurds. We receive all types of medications, even the medication required for surgical procedures.

Yesterday we received 12-13 people who were injured on the front and we treated them.

Interviewer: Do you do surgeries here?

Khansaa: yes we do, then we transfer them to Dohuk.

Yes Of course i have a degree, without my degree i cannot serve them. I have a degree from the health institution, Surgery section.

Once there was a strong conflict between ISIS and the Peshmerga fighters, and ISIS came close to the mountain, and there were many injuries, some of them were abdominal and shoulder injuries, i treated them and they stayed here with me for four days then were transferred to Dohuk and now they are fine.

This is the weapon of Fadel al-Mirani, He gave it to me as a present because I served the Yazidis. They said that they are very proud of me to be here in this situation, in the cold and the starvation and in a place where there i no bathrooms or toilets. I count myself as one of the Peshmerga, so he gave me this present because i served the Yazidis.

Some of the births that happened here, they gave two of the girls my name, and i personally named two boys, and i gave three girls my sister's name and two girls, I gave them my niece's name.

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Christmas for Refugees in Iraq
By rsoufi
22 Dec 2014

December 22, 2014
Dohuk, Iraq

Iraqi Christian refugees put up a huge Christmas tree outside of the Chaldean Cultural Centre in Dohuk. The tree is the biggest in the region and is made of astro-turf wrapped around a metal frame, materials supplied by Afram, an engineer and owner of the centre, which is now housing 87 Christian refugee families.

Inside the centre, Salma is putting up Christmas decorations. She and her husband fled Tel Isqof, in northern Iraq, to escape ISIS and now live with other refugees in Dohuk. Their sons both fled the country.

Farouk and George, a former employee at Basra airport and a former employee at the oil plant in Kirkuk, respectively, wish to leave Iraq for a more stable life.


Farouk, Christian refugee, (Man, Arabic):

(00:36-00:58) Farouk: "This is a Christmas tree for the Chaldean Cultural Centre. All the people here participated in the making of it."

Interviewer: How did you make it?

Farouk: "We cover it with a carpet and then we decorate it with Christmas lights and Christmas decorations."

(01:03-01:47) Farouk: "This is the work of Mr. Afram. He allowed us to reside here, we were 87 families."

Interviewer: Is this the only tree that you are making?

Farouk: "No, we have another tree inside and a grotto."

Interviewer: What do you hope for this Christmas?

Farouk: "We hope for peace, and to leave this country, because nobody is giving us our rights."

Interviewer: Why are you making this tree?

Farouk: "It is a holiday, we have to make it."

George, Christian refugee, (Man, Arabic):

(01:59-02:15) George: "Even if our situation is hard, it will become easier, nothing stays the same. Life is a chance, to see the good and to see the bad. and hopefully God will fix things, and make it better for us. We are refugees, and we hope our situation will improve."

(02:21-02:31) George: "We build the christmas tree every year. No matter what happens, we build it every year."

Interviewer: The fact that you are refugees did not affect you negatively?

George: "No, nothing can affect us."

(02:38-02:52) George: "We hope to return to Kirkuk, to work and continue to live our lives. We do not care about ISIS or anyone."

Salma, Christian refugee (Woman, Arabic):

(04:02-04:16) Salma: "I am decorating the tree. The Christmas tree."

Interviewer: Why are you decorating it?

Salma: "Because it is a religious holiday that we celebrate every year and decorate the tree."

(04:24-05:22) Salma: "I remember when we used to be in our village, and celebrate this holiday with the family, friends, and relatives."

Interviewer: What did you used to do at Christmas time back when you were in your village?

Salma: "We used to celebrate, prepare food and sweets for the holiday when all the family gathers."

Interviewer: What is your current situation here?

Salma: "We are living in a tragedy. It is not nice to live here for any of the people in this building. But thanks to Mr. Afram, who allowed us to stay here, we are so much better than others."

(05:27-05:42) Salma: "If they cannot find a solution they should allow mass immigration. I am here alone with my husband. All of my children are out of the country, Why should my husband and I stay here?"

(05:47-06:37) Salma: Are we Christian or citizens of this country? We ask God to fix this situation."

Interviewer: Is it necessary to build the tree?

Salma: "Yes absolutely, the tree should be placed and decorated at the beginning of December, to start preparing for the holiday. This tree is a blessing from God, maybe it will bless us so the situation can be fixed and we can return to our homes. Many people do not want to immigrate. This is our country and it is very important to us, when we think of what happened to our country we feel sad, but what can we do?"

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Yazidi Hero's Funeral
By Abdulkhaliq Al Jawari
27 Oct 2014

October 27, 2014
Nineveh, Iraq

Hundreds of Yazidis attended the funeral of Kheri Murad Sheikh Khedr, who was killed on the evening of Wednesday 22nd of October in Sukeniya, an area in the Sinjar Mountains. Sheikh Khedr was killed by a mortar in clashes between ISIS and Yazidis on the Sinjar Mountain. Hundreds of mourners gathered in the Lalesh Temple where they wrapped Sheikh Khedr’s coffin in a Kurdish flag and carried it to the temple’s graveyard to be buried. Khedr is the first person that is not affiliated to the temple to be buried in its grounds. The funeral was led by high profile government and religious figures and attended by a large number of Yazidis. The flute and the tambourine that are being played at the graveside are part of a Yazidi religious ritual performed at funerals.

Full 20 minutes of Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar available:


(00:00-00:40) Yazidi (woman, Kurdish): “To the person who has served the Yazidis religion faithfully and to who has defended the innocent, your bravery will always remain with us.”

(00:39-00:50) The man wearing a black suit, standing in the middle, is Saeed Shenkali a Kurdish Party Official. The man wearing white on the left is Baba Jawich, the head cleric of the Lalesh Temple

(03:29-03:31) The man kneeling on the grave, (man, Kurdish): “This is a hero, a martyr, who died in the Sukeniya area in Sinjar. He sacrificed his life to serve his people and he fought the ISIS terrorists. He remained in his position and did not retreat and so generations will tell tales of his glory.”

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Yazidi Children Die in Accidental Ten...
By rsoufi
20 Oct 2014

October 21, 2014
Dohuk, Iraq

Yazidi refugee Saido was able to save his family from certain death at the hands of ISIS by fleeing Sinjar and taking them to Khaneq refugee camp in Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan. However it was here in supposed safety that tragedy struck. When Saido and his wife left his brother’s tent, where they had been spending the evening, they saw their own tent on fire. By the time they got close enough there was nothing they could do but watch as their children burned to death. His three children Sima, Saman, Sebar, aged 4, 7, and 2 respectively, perished in the accidental tent fire caused by a burning candle. The bereaved father is left with just two children, one of whom is partially paralyzed and suffers from epilepsy.


Zahra, mother (Woman, Kurdish):

(00:56) "Sima was as old as this one [she points at a child] and Saman was as old as this one. This child is 10 months older than Sebar. I wish I died instead of them." (01:20)

Seido Shenkali, father (Man, Arabic):

(02:45) Our children were sleeping here [the same position in the other tent] with my mother and father sitting next to them. Then my wife suggested that we all go to my neighbor's tent, so we went and we left them sleeping in the tent right in front of where we were. After a while, my wife told me that we should return to the tent because it was windy and raining and the children were sleeping. So I left my neighbor's tent and walked out to find the children's tent on fire and I started screaming. I had three children, Saman, Sima, and Sebar, when we went to save them they were dead." (03:59)

(04:04) "I ask for any person who is able to help me, to do so. I do not have anything anymore. My children died, all I have left is this child who is sick and epileptic. I ask for all the officials to see my situation. I only have this boy and this girl. The boy is sick, his medications are very expensive, and i cannot get them from any governmental institution." (04:42)

(04:46) "I tried to save them from ISIS, it is all because of them. I tried to save them and brought them here, but they burned to death." (04:42)

Khedr Shenkali, uncle, (Man, Arabic):

(05:21) "There was a lit candle, and their parents were in the other tent, the tent burnt and they died." (05:38)

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In exile: Iraqi women seek refuge
Bardarash, Dohuk, Rovia, Diyarbakir
By Arianna Pagani
24 Sep 2014

During the days of terror on Mount Sinjar, about 200 women were kidnapped by the militias of the Islamic State to be converted to Islam and sold in the occupied cities of Mosul and Tal Afar. This barbarism is not new to the chronicles of war.

The Islamic State's attack on Mount Sinjar led to the exodus of about 500,000 people, mostly from the Christian, Yazidi and Shabak minorities. These refugees, currently under the protection of the Kurdish militias, are living in the streets, under bridges or in abandoned places in Erbil and surrounding villages. Many of those who manage to escape the conflict have suffered losses in their family that effect them not only economically, but mentally and emotionally. Depression and anxiety in addition to insecurity are a constant challenge.

The UNHCR anticipated there to be over 900,000 internally displaced people in Iraq by the end of 2014. With the rise of ISIS, that number has been more than tripled, with 2.9 million displaced according to International Displacement Monitoring Center. The situation of internally displaced women, not only in Iraq but in conflict zones around the world, is especially precarious as the breakdown in social structures is a risk factor for gender-based violence. In their planning document for 2014, the UNHCR says it is ramping up its efforts to protect refugee and internally displaced women. However, agencies like the UNHCR as well as local associations can only care for and provide aid to so many displaced people, leaving others to fend for themselves.

The condition of the women and children displaced in Iraq is tragic: not only from a material point of view, but also from a psychological and ethical perspective. While talking with them, the elderly were crying because they don't see a future for their land, culture or traditions and were continuously asking, "What did we do wrong to deserve to be killed?" The women were mostly passive, trapped between emotions, tears, the inability to react, “deafened by pain and suffering.” They seemed to understand that as time passes by, the hope of returning to a normal and fair life fades away.

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Former Iraqi Policeman Sells Used Clo...
By rsoufi
18 Sep 2014

September 18, 2014
Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan

Abdulghani Mahmoud Qader is a 31 year old refugee from Zamar who has set up a small business selling used clothes to other refugees in Dohuk. He has decided to set up a his stall next to other road-side vendors outside the Zakho UNICEF refugee camp near the Iraqi-Turkish border. He hopes that his customers will be refugees from the camp as well as those traveling across the border to Turkey, and that he will be able to earn enough money everyday to feed his family, who are living in one of the camps. Before he fled to Dohuk, Abdulghani was a police officer in his hometown of Zamar. Abdulghani and many other refugees are hoping to return back to Zamar once ISIS have been forced out of the city. Zamar is located in Western Mosul, 60km away from it in the Nineveh Province.


(01:15) Contributor: Can you tell us your story? (01:28)

(01:29) Abdulghani: "I am a refugee from Zamar and I came here when ISIS took control of the city. I opened the clothes display today." (01:39)

(01:40) "I really hope I will sell good today and get money so I can help my family. Back in Zamar I was a police officer, but I quit now." (01:55)

(01:56) Contributor: How much money is in your work? (01:58)

(01:58) Abdulghani: "Around 130,000 140,000 Iraqi Dinar. And as for the sales prices, I sell between 250,500 or 1000 Iraqi Dinar, it depends on what the item is. I have around 260 items to sell. I have sold already around 6 now." (02:27)

(02:28) Contributor: What are you going to do with the money you will get from sales? (02:34)

(02:34) Abdulghani: "I will spend it on me and on my family." (02:37)

(02:41) Contributor: Are you willing to go back to Zamar? (02:44)

(02:45) Abdulghani: "Of course yes, I want to get back to my hometown and get back to my work." (02:49)

(02:50) Contributor: What are the problems you are facing in your new job here? (02:58)

(02:59) Abdulghani: "All I want is a tent to cover the clothes from the sun and the wind." (03:07)

(03:08) Contributor: Who are your customers? Are they refugees? Do you want to help them. (03:10)

(03:10) Abdulghani: "Yes they are in general refugees. And of course I want to help them with the little money I make." (03:21)

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Life after ISIS in the City of Makhmour
Iraq , Makhmur
By Jawdat Ahmed
08 Sep 2014

September, 7, 2014
Makhmour, Iraq

Despite the Kurdish Peshmerga reclaiming control over Makhmour, the city in the Kurdish controlled part of Iraq, is still reeling from the aftermath of ISIS' occupation. Over 60% of residents have fled to Erbil while those who cannot afford to do so have returned to find their houses pillaged and, in some cases, destroyed. Many are now sleeping outside on the sidewalk or on top of roofs to guard their homes from robbers. If you roam around the city, you will find empty streets and closed shops while the Kurdish flag flies on governmental buildings. There are also reports of some Arab families running away to join ISIS, but for the families that stayed or have returned, it will take some time to piece their lives back together.


SOUNDBITE 1: Ibrahim Sheikh Alla, Director of the District Officer (man, English)

SOUNDBITE 2: Ali Hasam, citizen (man, Kurdish): “We demand all citizens to return to the areas under the control of the Kurdish forces, to protect the homes from the robbing that is happening. People are afraid because they know that ISIS is very close to Makhmour now and because Arab families in the area, such as the citizens of Baqert, are supportive of ISIS.”

“We have extreme security measurements for protection at the moment, and the situation of the market is bad.”

SOUNDBITE 3: Mohamad Sultan, taxi driver (man, Kurdish)
“Many people are afraid now, they are sleeping outside their homes on the look out for any ISIS attack. You can no longer hear anybody speaking Arabic around the area now. ISIS took over my house for four days, they used my clothes, ate my food, and broke into my vault and stole everything, including my passport and my keys.”

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Yazidi Farmers in Kurdistan Work the ...
By rsoufi
28 Aug 2014

August 28, 2014
Fishkhabour, Iraqi Kurdistan

Ghanem Hamwi, a Yazidi farmer known locally as "Abu Ammar", cultivates his rented land in the Fishkhabour area, west of Dahuk, despite the threat from the fighting between ISIS and Peshmerga forces, just a few kilometers away.
Ghanem was forced to flee his hometown of Baashika, near Mosul, after ISIS seized control over large areas of the Nineveh province in June, 2014. Since then he moved to the safety of Fishkhabour in Kurdistan and resumed his work as a farmer. However, after the rapid expansion of ISIS and the invasion of Sinjar, and the neighboring towns, the Peshmerga controlled area of Fishkhabour is no longer safe.
Ghanem is trying to help his fellow Yazidis by hiring the refugees who fled Mount Sinjar to farm the land, in spite of the extremely low revenues.


SOUNDBITE 1 - Ghanem Hamwi, farmer (man, Arabic, 8 sec): "We are refugees from Baashika, and we came to Fishkhabour to work on these farms. Most of the people here are refugees from Sinjar."

SOUNDBITE 2 - Ghanem Hamwi, (33 sec) "We are threatened with death, and we witnessed lots of murders. At least ten to fifteen of my people were killed this year. People are scared here, they ask themselves "Is it worth it to come and earn a small amount of money and risk death?" Successful farmers prefer to stop working in agriculture and try to find another, more safe, profession. So this fear has put the agricultural industry in danger.

SOUNDBITE 3 - Ghanem Hamwi, (18 sec) The fear is affecting all of the Iraqi citizens on all levels from Baghdad to Kurdistan, the whole region is gripped by terror.

SOUNDBITE 4 - Ghanem Hamwi, (37 sec) Because of the ISIS terrorists and the violence they are causing and road blocks and checkpoints, I am selling my produce at half price. They are no more factories processing pickles, especially in Mosul and Baashika, where they used to buy my cucumbers. Now I am limited to Dahuk and Zakho, plus the transportation is very expensive, so I am not able to sell my produce.

SOUNDBITE 5 - Adnan Sabri, Worker (man, Kurdish, 1m 42 sec): “We are Yazidi people who fled Mount Sinjar following ISIS's control over the region. I used to own farmland in Sinjar but I had to leave it behind along with all the machinery that I had, which was worth more than 30,000 USD. I now work as a farmer on another person's farmland and I get paid 8 to 10 USD per day. I am lucky and happy with what I'm doing, since thousands of other Yazidis have nothing here, including my friends who keep asking me to find them jobs. Despite moving with my family to a safer region that Sinjar, I still have daily fears, following the crimes that ISIS committed to the Yazidis. I find it really hard to go back to our motherland in Sinjar, since we're a religious minority and the attacks will continue as they have in years past. ISIS attacked all the farmers in Rabia and Sinjar, killing dozens of us, while the others left their farms behind after they threatened us with death. We ask the Western Countries to grant us humanitarian asylum because we don't want to live in Iraq anymore.”

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Inside Iraq's Domiz Refugee Camp
Iraq, Dohuk
By Nick Ashdown
27 Aug 2014

The Domiz refugee camp, located just outside of the Iraqi-Kurdish town of Dohuk, near the Syrian border, was opened in April, 2012. It's residents are mostly Syrians who fled from the nearby Syrian-Kurdish region of Rojava. While fighting in Rojava has been relatively limited when compared with other parts of Syria, it has been economically devastated. Most of the residents at Domiz are economic refugees fleeing the lack of opportunities in Rojava and looking for work in Iraqi-Kurdistan. The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), gives all legal asylum seekers work permits, an extremely rare practice. The camp, the first for Syrian refugees in Kurdistan, was initially designed for 25,000 people, but the current population is about 65,000. Like all large refugee camps, it operates as a kind of city, with countless shops, restaurants, schools, taxis, and various services. Compared to refugee camps worldwide, such as those for other Syrian refugees in Jordan or Lebanon, Domiz has quite good conditions. There are over 200,000 Syrian refugees in Kurdistan, an autonomous region of Iraq, and almost all of them are Kurdish. Domiz is the largest and best equipped of 13 camps in Kurdistan.

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Erbil Bomb
Erbil, Iraq
By Arshed
23 Aug 2014

A bomb attached by a magnet to the underside of a car exploded in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, on August 23rd. Reports say at least four people were injured.

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Cardinal Filoni News Conference
Erbil, Iraq
By Jawdat Ahmed
14 Aug 2014

News conference in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, personal envoy of Pope Francis.

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Kurds Watch TV News
By Jawdat Ahmed
13 Aug 2014

Erbil, Iraq
August 13, 2014

Iraqi Kurds at outdoor restaurants in the Iscan Bazaar in Erbil watch television news coverage of the conflict with the Islamic State militia in northern Iraq.

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Papal Emissary Visits Erbil
By Jawdat Ahmed
13 Aug 2014

Cardinal Fernando Filoni has arrived in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan as the personal envoy of Pope Francis. Filoni i the former papal nuncio to Iraq and Jordan.
Thousands of Christians fled to the Kurdish area as the Islamic State militia invaded towns and cities in northern Iraq.
Cardinal Filoni is expected to deliver a personal message of solidarity and support from the pope as well as financial aid to those affected by the violence.

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Iraqi Kurds Celebrate The Peshmerga M...
By Jawdat Ahmed
12 Aug 2014

Erbil, Iraq
August 5, 2014

Honking of car horns and waving of flags in the streets of Irbil to support and celebrate the successes of the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga militia against forces of the extremist Islamic State.
Street vendors feature CDs of the Iraqi Kurdish national anthem.

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Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga On A Frontlin...
By Jawdat Ahmed
10 Aug 2014

Makhmur, Iraq
August 10, 2014

Members of the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga militia on a frontline position in the Makhmur district south of Erbil, Iraq.

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The Streets of Kirkuk
By Tracey Shelton
16 Jul 2014

KIRKUK, Iraq — For decades, the oil-rich city of Kirkuk has been the epicenter of a territorial dispute between the Iraqi central government and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

When Sunni militants seized control of a large area of north and central Iraq, they surrounded Kirkuk from two sides, cutting off the city's land borders from the central government. Kurdish forces wasted no time moving in to secure Kirkuk from Islamic State militants gaining control of what they claim to be Kurdish land.

But the population of Kirkuk is diverse with Turkmen, Kurds, Arabs and both Assyrian and Chaldean Christians who all likewise stake a claim to this historical land.

The city has frequently been described as a "powder keg" of racial hostility waiting to explode, though the streets of Kirkuk tell a different story. Amid political conflict and instability, citizens have lived side by side and mixed freely for centuries. Between the police roadblocks and front lines that surround it, the generosity and welcoming nature of the people of Kirkuk give hope for the future of this extraordinary city.

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Iraq: Qaraqosh's Christians in Limbo
By Arianna Pagani
24 Jun 2014

After bombings in Qaraqosh, the Iraqi government has decided to evacuate the entire town. About 5,000 families have taken refuge in the city of Erbil, where schools and sports centers have been made available by local volunteers and aid organizations.

A major city for Christians in Iraq, Qaraqosh fell to ISIS shortly after the latter's conquest of Mosul. Residents of Qaraqosh were reportedly terrorized by ISIS, who took Sharia law into their own hands, lashing one man for selling cigarettes, and killing several women found guilty of adultery. The city later suffered heavy bombardment during fighting between ISIS fighters and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

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Iraq - Kawrgosk Refugee Camp
Erbil, Iraq
By Victor Point
02 May 2014

Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, around 210 000 refugees, mostly Kurdish, have found refuge in Iraqi kurdistan. The Kawrgosk camp is one of the eight camps of the region and the closest to the capital, Erbil. It opened in August 2013, after the border with Syria re-opened. Today, the camp hosts around 12,000 people, packed in 1,800 tents. The majority of them are from Qamishli in Syria.

Facilities and medicine are scarce. Funding also remains an issue for the NGOs working in the camp. Refugees who want to work outside the camp need a permit from the Iraqi authorities and have to go through long administrative procedures to obtain one. Those who are able to get a work permit are only allowed to do manual jobs. The money they earn allows them to buy items they don't received through humanitarian aid from the Kurdish government and the NGOs.

Children make half of the camp population. Only those above seven can attend school, as there are no classes for the youngest. Teachers are refugees also living in the camp. However, school is not mandatory and many children don't attend.

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Domiz Refugee Camp, Iraqi Kurdistan
By Nick Ashdown
15 Apr 2014

The Domiz refugee camp just outside of Duhok, near the Syrian border in Iraqi Kurdistan, was opened in April, 2012. The Kurdish region of Syria (Rojava) has been relatively, though not wholly, untouched by fighting, but is economically devastated, so most of the residents at Domiz are economic refugees in search of work. The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), gives all legal asylum seekers work permits, an extremely rare practice. The camp, the first for Syrian refugees in Kurdistan, was initially designed for 25,000 people, but the current population is about 65,000. Like all large refugee camps, it operates as a kind of city, with countless shops, restaurants, schools, taxis, and various services. Compared to refugee camps worldwide, such as those for other Syrian refugees in Jordan or Lebanon, Domiz has quite good conditions. There are over 250,000 Syrian refugees in Kurdistan, an autonomous region of Iraq, and almost all of them are Kurdish. Domiz is the largest and best equipped of 13 camps in Kurdistan.