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President of Kurdistan Meets Arab Tribes
Dohuk
By Jawdat Ahmed
16 Mar 2015

March 15, 2015
Duhuk, Iraq


(IraqiNews.com) President of Kurdistan Massoud Barzani said on Sunday, that the doors are open for Arabs to fight in the ranks of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, calling the federal government to do its duty in the liberated areas. Barzani said during a meeting with Arab tribal elders attended by IraqiNews.com, “The doors are open for Arabs to join the Peshmerga ranks in their fight against terrorism, and without discrimination,” urging the federal government to do its duty and provide services in the liberated areas. Barzani added, “We should not feed grudges and hatred. Those who refused loyalty to ISIS must live freely and with dignity, while those who chose to be with ISIS, their fate will be like ISIS’ fate.” “All Kurdish areas have been liberated and are now ready to contribute in the operations to liberate the rest of Iraq,” calling on everyone to cooperate in order to build a spirit of cooperation and brotherhood.

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Peshmerga Units Clear Explosives Laid...
Kirkuk, Makhmour
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
08 Feb 2015

The amount of IEDs left by the Islamic State is staggering. 'Not normal', says the mayor of Makhmour. According to Kurdish government and Peshmerga officials, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines planted by Islamic State militants are the biggest cause of casualties for Peshmerga forces. ISIS has adopted the tactic of heavily seeding all of the territory it withdraws from with the deadly devices, with the intent of slowing down Peshmerga advances. Some IEDs are also intentionally left in fields and homes to target civilians according to Kurdish officials. We go to the frontlines with a Peshmerga engineer team specialized in dismantling the devices, and speak to a farmer who is affected by Islamic State IEDs. The mayor of the city of Makhmour, whose community is still dealing with getting rid of massive amounts of IEDs ISIS left in August, also weighs in on the subject.

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Norwegian Father and Son Fight ISIS T...
Karbala
By mushtaq mohammed
29 Jan 2015

January 29, 2015
Karbala, Iraq

Former Iraqi army Commander Abass al-Assadi fled to Norway and became a citizen in 1991 following the popular revolution against Saddam Hussein. In 2013 he returned to Syria with his daughter and two sons, to fight with the Assad regime and “protect Shiite shrines.”His daughter was killed in an artillery strike.
After the call to jihad by the Shiite spiritual leader Ali al-Sistani in 2014, Abass returned with his family to Iraq to fight ISIS. His sons began training with the Shiite militia. The video shows one of them, 14 year-old Hussein, with his father in a training camp in western Karbala. Abass and other Iranian and Iraqi Shiite officers are teaching Iraqi volunteers urban warfare and combat drills. Hussein calls all young European Shiite Muslims to join the fight against the "Islamic State".

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abbas al-Assadi
01:58 – 03:45
I was part of the opposition against Saddam Hussein. I participated in the 1991 uprising. After that, I moved to Saudi Arabia and from there to Norway. I obtained the Norwegian citizenship, and I came here after I heard the call of the marjaeia [Ayatollah Ali Sistani] to participate in jihad and obtain material benefit… no, sorry I meant gains in the afterword. This will grant us honor in life and after death and strengthen our sense of jihad. God willing, we shall all be soldiers who serve the marjaeia and the Iraqi people.
Q: As you know, the European Union has imposed sanctions on Europeans of foreign origins who conspire with ISIS. Do you not fear that this measure will also affect the members of the Popular Crowd [Shiite militia loyal to Ayatollah Ali Sistani]?

No, the Popular Crowd has nothing to do with Europe. I am fulfilling the call of the marjaeia, which represents me. European countries would be happy that I am fighting against ISIS. If they have an agreement with ISIS, that would be something else. We came to fulfil the call of the marjaeia and exterminate ISIS members wherever they were in Iraq. I am not concerned with any sanctions.
My children and I have Iraqi citizenship and I am not ashamed of being Iraqi. I am originally Iraqi and I shall remain Iraqi.
Q: What is your name?
Abbas al-Assad; Abu Ali.
Q: Abbas, you have brought your son from Norway.
He would gain experience and learn in the future… Q: Are you not scared for his safety?
I am not scared for his, mine or my family’s safety… All of Iraq is in the same situation. I am not worried about individuals. Everybody, including my family, would be sacrificed for the sake of the Marjaia [spiritual leader] and the honorable Iraqi people.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Boy) Hussein Abbas al-Assadi, Child soldier
03:47
Q: What is your name, dear?
Hussein Abbas.
Q: Why are you here?
I am practicing jihad.
Q: what do you think about Norway and Iraq?
They are nice, but Iraq is better.
Q: Are you not afraid of ISIS?
No.
Father: We have just come here after finishing a battle. It was fulfilment of the marjaeia’s call. I have two other children. My daughter was martyred in Syria, when ISIS bombarded the town of Nubbul.
Q (addressed to boy): Are you willing to take part in a battle?
Boy: Yes.
Q: Why?
Boy: I want to fulfill the call of the Marjaia [spiritual leader].
[Unseen man]: …and to protect the Iraqi people. Boy: and to protect the Iraqi people.
Q: Are you not scared of death?
Boy: No.
Q: You are Norwegian and had a comfortable life [in Norway], where there is a good economy and safety. You came to Iraq, where there are plenty of ISIS members. Are you not scared of this?
Boy: No. Q: Why?
Boy: I am fulfilling the call of the Marjaia [spiritual leader].
[Unseen man]: … and you have resolution. Boy: … I have courage.
Q: What would you say to your friends in Europe? How did you find the situation? Is there safety? Terrorism? Were you afraid? How did people welcome you?
(Boy smiles and remains quiet) Q: Talk to me…
Father: Tell him, my son, that we are here among our family and people, and the Iraqi people are all our family.
Q: Do not pay attention to the camera. Talk to me.
Boy: It was better that we came here to be our people. The Iraqi people are our family.
Q:Do you advise others in Europe to come and fight against ISIS?
Boy: They should fight against ISIS and defend the holy shrines and protect their people.
Q: Did you quit school?
Boy: Yes.
Q: What is your name?
Boy: Hussein Abbas Assadi.

06:08 – 06:39
Boy: I want to fulfill the call of the Marjaia [spiritual leader] and protect the holy shrines.
Q: You seem so young. Why did you come here?
Boy: I came with my father.
Q: Are you not afraid of ISIS?
Boy: No, I am not.
Q: Have you taken part in battles?
Boy: Yes, in Jaruf al-Sakhr and Fadlia and Buhairat.
Q: You went there?
Boy: Yes, I did.
Q: What do you think about the fighting?
(Boy smiles) Q: What do you say to young men of your age in Europe?
Boy: They should come to fight against ISIS.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man), Abu Khaled, officer in Popular Crowd
06:58 – 07:14
Today, he will head to the firing practice field to train using live ammunition. This is in preparation for a future duty, the liberation of the remaining occupied areas of Salahuddine.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abu Jaafar, Shiite cleric
07:26 – 08:02
These young mujahidin they came to fulfill the call of the Marjaia [spiritual leader] led by ayatollah Sayyed Ali Sistani. God willing, the students of the hawza (institute for cleric formation) shall be with them on the battle fronts. We will be at the barricades before them. We will support their religious morale. We also give them religious lessons.

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Aftermath of Raqqa Bombings by Syrian...
By TTM Contributor 20
01 Dec 2014

27 November 2014 Destruction from recent airstrikes in Raqqa by Syrian Regime warplanes.

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Airstrikes by Assad Regime Kill More ...
Raqqa
By TTM Contributor 20
26 Nov 2014

Raqqa, Syria

November 25, 2014

At least 95 people were killed and 120 injured on Tuesday in a series of airstrikes believed to be carried out by Syrian government forces against civilian neighborhoods in Raqqa, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The airstrikes caused large scale devastation in residential buildings and public squares. A mosque and the local museum were also damaged in the bombing.

Raqqa is the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.

An international coalition led by the United States has launched a bombing campaign against ISIS positions since September.

Eyewitnesses, however, believe that these airstrikes were carried out by the Syrian government’s air force.

The Syrian regime has repeatedly targeted the city with airstrikes since it lost control over it in March 2013

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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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Iraqi Soldiers Take Security precauti...
By mushtaq mohammed
01 Jul 2014

Al Anbar, Saudi-Iraqi Border

Iraqi soldiers on the border with Saudi Arabia take security precautions because of strange behavior seen on the Saudi side of the border. They believe ISIS are preparing an attack.

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Iraqi Soldiers Abandon Syrian Border
By mushtaq mohammed
01 Jul 2014

Iraqi soldiers hiding near the Al-Ukhaider Fortress, 50km south of Karbala, having been ordered to retreat from the Syrian border. On the way to supply the border patrol with aid, Sayed Mohammad al-Talkani, the representative of Muqtada al-Sadr, and Iraqi Member of Parliament, Fatm al Kreiti, found 2,500 soldiers sheltering in the archaeological site. They lacked food and water; many of them suffered from starvation and some had become sick and died. When asked why they retreated they said that they received orders from the officers, with no reason given, to abandon their posts and were told to leave the border open for ISIL to enter and seize the abandoned weapons left there.

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Iraqi-Shia Fighters Celebrate Complet...
By mushtaq mohammed
27 Jun 2014

Armed Shia fighters from the al-Akida brigade celebrate their graduation after seven days of combat training under guidance of Iranian military advisors. Sheikh Maytham al-Karbalaei, a leader in the brigade stated, “This regiment was trained in the most modern tactics of urban warfare, and how to respond to any sudden attack against the Shiite holy sites.”

The brigade of 2,500 fighters is independent and does not answer to any governmental authority. It is responsible for the protection of al-Ataba al-Abasey shrine and receives its orders from Iraqi-Shia spiritual leader Sheikh Ali al-Sayed al-Sistani.

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Iraq: Qaraqosh's Christians in Limbo
Erbil
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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Iraqi Farmers Take Up Arms to Fight ISIL
By TTM Contributor 16
18 Jun 2014

June 19, 2014
Baghdad, Iraq

Iraqi-farmers from the area around Baghdad gather in the city to form fighting brigades that will fight ISIL. Under the administration of the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture, the farmers are answering the call of Ayatollah Sayed Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of the Iraqi-Shia, to take up arms against ISIL. The Ministry of Agriculture is helping organize farmers across the country form their own fighting brigades.

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Iraq: Kurdish Peshmerga Take Over Che...
Gop Jalil
By Stefanos
12 Jun 2014

June 12, 2014
Gop Jalil, Mosul, Iraq

Images of Peshmerga soldiers at a checkpoint after they gained controlled the village of Gop Jalil located on Mosul-Irbil road. The new checkpoint is located only 100m from ISIL frontlines.