Tags / Islamic State in Iraq and Syria
Kurdish Army and Free Syrian Army fighters gather on the outskirts of Tal Abiyad while the battle to wrestle the frontier town from ISIS remains underway. The offensive launched by the fighting groups was eventually successful with anti-ISIS forces taking full control of the town.
Tal Abiyad was a strategic conduit for supplies going to the Islamic State Group's self-declared capital of Raqqa. By capturing the town, YPG and FSA forces dealt a strategic blow to ISIS' hold on northereastern Syria
Free Syrian Army fighters, who coordinated the offensive with the Kurdish YPG, pray beside a river in the vicinity of Tal Abiyad.
Free Syrian Army fighters patrol the areas around Tal Abiyad.
Fighters relax against a combat embankment on the outskirts of Tal Abiyad.
Kurdish YPG fighters with an improvised armored vehicle on the outskirts of Tal Abiyad.
Fighters on a tank on the outskirts of Tal Abiyad.
Female Kurdish YPG fighters relax on the outskirts of Tal Abiyad.
Male and Female Kurdish YPG fighters gather on the outskirts of Tal Abiyad.
Fighters keep watch of the area in the vicinity of Tal Abiyad.
A female Kurdish YPG fighters watches the battle of Tal Abiyad unfold in the distance.
A view of Tal Abiyad, Syria.
tel abyad -syria
An anti-ISIS fighter photographs a destroyed ISIS sign on a road on the outskirts of Tal Abiyad.
Kurdish YPG fighters pose for a photo on the outskirts of Tal Abiyad.
Anti-terror operations continue in the wake of the Bardo Museum attack, this time in the rural areas outside the Tunisian capital. This operation comes a day after a raid in the suburbs of Tunis ended with authorities killing nine suspected militants in a gunfight and arresting one.
Heavily-armed Tunisian forces patrol outside the town of Gafsa as helicopters survey the area from above.
This footage shows fighters from the Assyrian Christian Dwekh Nawsha militia at their forward operating base in Baqufa, Iraq, as well as on the frontline where they operate together with Peshmerga units. Since August, Dwekh Nawsha has guarded the village of Baqufa – especially its church – from looters. They also control the road connecting Mosul, the largest city in the Islamic State, and Dohuk, a large Kurdish city currently giving refuge to more than 100.000 displaced persons, many of them Christians.
This specific section of the frontline is very quiet, with no major fighting for the past six months since neither side has any heavy weapons deployed here. Many refugees criticize the militia’s lack of commitment to recapturing their village in the Niniveh area.
This footage shows an ordinary day with Dwekh Nawsha: watching the enemy on the frontline, waiting at the base camp, patrolling the village of Baqufa, staying awake all night to guard the small checkpoint, preparing breakfast for the day shift, cleaning the base and returning home for their week off.
The footage includes interviews with Rama Baito, the social media manager of Dwekh Nawsha; Sargon Logan, a 25-year old bread vendor from the city of Dohuk who joined Dwekh Nawsha three months ago; General Tareq Suliman, the local Peshmerga commander on the frontline near Dohuk; and his second-in-command, Colonel Kerim, who accompanied the journalist to the frontline.
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.
While most fled, some Christians organized themselves into militias to defend their villages. One of them is Dwekh Nawsha (‘The Sacrificers’). Since August 2014, they have trained more than 60 fighters from the Ninaveh region of Iraq and control a small part of the frontline north of Mosul near a village called Baqufa. Dwekh Nawsha is not just a militia of Christians, but one fighting for the interests of the ancient Assyrian communities in Iraq. The Assyrians cherish a culture much older than Christianity, but were also one of the first peoples to convert in the 1st century AD. Over the last few months, the Islamic State has destroyed a number of important excavating sites and historical cities of the Assyrians, a people who used to rule over large parts of the Middle East 3.000 years ago.
The interviews were conducted in English and Kurdish.
In February 2015, Judd Carroll from Tyler, Texas decided to start a fundraising campaign to help Christian refugee children in northern Iraq and then deliver the material aid himself. Not only did the fundraising effort fail but, despite harsh criticism from family and friends, he spent his own money to fly to Iraq to bring both baby food and military equipment to local Christian militias. In this 30min interview, he explains his motivation and why he wants to join these Christian militias fighting the Islamic State.
The interview was filmed at the headquarters of the Christian Assyrian militia Dwekh Nawsha (‘The Sacrificers’).
Archbishop Yousif Thomas Mirkis of Kirkul is one of the most important clergymen in the Chaldean Church and one of the most influential representatives of the Christian community in all of Iraq. The diocese of Kirkuk has always been a centerpiece of Iraqi Christendom, its former Archbishop Louis Raphael Sako having become the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in 2013. This interview with Bishop Mirkis was conducted on 19 March 2015 in Sulaimaniya, Iraq.
The main topics discussed are the current refugee crisis and the future role of Christians in Iraq.
This footage is an extended interview with Archimandrit Emanuel Youkhana, priest of the Assyrian Church of the East and head of the most important Christian relief organization in Iraq, CAPNI. Here he talks extensively about why, even after the Islamic State has collapsed, he thinks Iraqi Christendom is about to die out, and why he does not expect things to get much better.
The interview was conducted in English.
Jens Petzold is a Swiss monk who heads a monastery in Erbil, Iraq for Iraqi-christian refugees who fled ISIS attacks on their towns last year. A former resident of the famous Deir Mar Musa monastery in Syria, Petzold first came Iraq from Syria in 2011 in order to rebuild the abandoned monastery of Deir Maryam al-Adha. After the Islamic State started to attack Christian villages in Iraq this past summer, he became the sole caretaker of dozens of displaced families.
Petzold is a charismatic and unorthodox church congregation leader. This footage tries to show how a single person can make a big difference to many refugees as well as show how refugees from the Christian community try to get on with their daily lives, somehow trying to avoid leaving their homeland for good.
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 residents fled within a couple of hours on the 6th of August and left most of their belongings behind. Right now more than 100,000 of the already shrinking population of Iraqi Christian community have become internally displaced 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. The monastery with its church and one building houses 80 people, nearby apartments another 100+ people. Almost 70 of them are children.
The author visited Sulaimaniya in March 2015. The entire footage was shot during that time. It includes interviews with Jens Petzold, several of the refugees, shows daily life in the monastery as well as a mass. I accompanied Jens Petzold during trips to the local market, to a Christian graveyard and to another local church community where they are raising funds to build new housing facilities.
The following rough cut is in chronological order as it was shot.
The interviews were conducted in English and Arabic.
March 15, 2015
(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.
February 26, 2015
Christian-Assyrian refugees seek refuge in the Kurdish controlled city of Qamishli after fleeing ISIS advances on their villages of Tal Tamer, Tal Harmoza, Tal al-Jazeera, Tal Kouran and Abu Tina in the Hasakeh province. ISIS militants recently kidnapped 220 Assyrians in Hasakeh province setting a dangerous precedent for christians in the area and spurring entire villages to abandon their homes and flee ISIS advances.
SHOTLIST AND SOUNDBITES
Wide/ external of the Syriac Cultural Association in Syria
Wide of men holding diaper packs destined for displaced families
Wide of diaper packs and other supplies
Wide of supplies in pickup trucks
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Michael Kourieh, Member of the Syriac Cross
00:23 – 01:30
The Syriac Cross for Relief and Development. Our work currently revolves on to help our Assyrian brothers who fled the Khabour and Tal Tamer areas. They are living in several Assyrian churches. Our aim is to help the Assyrian so that they would feel at home. As you see from these supplies, we work all day long so they would not feel like strangers.
More importantly, from the information that we gathered, we learned that the displaced came from the Khabour area in the hundreds.
We feel sad about that, but we are trying our best to help them and offer them aid.
Various associations in Qamishli are involved in this work, such as the United Nations and Mother Syria Association. Everyone is making an effort [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. We are all coordinating our work and we hope that everyone is pleased with our work. God willing, we shall remain a unified people. “
Wide of Syriac Cross members unloading aid supplies
Wide/ external Syriac Cultural Association in Syria
Wide of aid supplies
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Elizabeth Jouqa, A displaced from Tal Tamer area
01:50 – 03:30
We fled the moment we first heard that ISIS kidnapped women, young men and children. We ran away before ISIS arrived to avoid being captured.
Interviewer: Did many people flee?
Many! There is about 600 [displaced] families here in Qamishli. May God safeguard you.
My relatives were abducted. We do not where they are. Amy God protect them from [ISIS]. May God break their arms.
Interviewer: When did the attack take place?
It was in the morning. We heard about in the morning. We called our relatives In Tal Shmeiran who told us that [ISIS] invaded their village. They said that [ISIS] had taken the men two days earlier to an unknown location and that they were like sheep to the church and did not know what was going to happen to them.
Our men, fighters from the Sotoro organisation and the Kurds, may God protect them, defended the people, but what could they do? The others [ISIS] are many. There were probably 600 of them.
Interviewer: who do you demand help from? The international community? The autonomous administration here? Regional countries?
What can I say?
Interviewer: Do you want aid form the United Nations? Who do you want aid from?
We are grateful for anyone who wants to help us. I do not know who should help us.
Wide of Syriac Cross members unloading aid supplies
Wide of street
Traveling of street
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Julia Butros, A displaced from Tal Tawil village
03:49 – 05:27
It was in at five in the evening. They [the rescuers] took children and their father. It was at five o’clock. People fled using a mobile diesel tank. They removed the tank from the vehicle and put people in its place and took to Hasaka, and from Hasaka they were brought here to Qamishli. People arrived here at midnight. The trip started at five and took all night long.
We do not anyone who was kidnapped. It is said that people were kidnapped in other villages. We cannot say anything other than that we have seen did not see.
Interviewer: Did ISIS blow churches?
They did in another village but not in Tal Tawil. They blew up churches in another village. . In other villages there people whose whereabouts are not known.
Interviewer: How many people fled to Hasaka and Qamishli?
I do not know. May be around 300 or 400 people. Around 100 people fled from our village, Tal Tawil.
Interviewer: who do you demand help from? The international community? The United Nations?
May God reward them, whether they offered aid or not. May God reward you and anyone who helps these troubled people.
Interviewer: Is ISIS present in your village?
[ISIS] is present in other villages. This man’s wife does know anything about her family. Interviewer: Did the Kurdish fighters and the Syriac Council liberate these villages?
They are trying to help, I am not saying that they are not, but what can they do?
Wide of Syriac Cross members unloading aid supplies
Various of Christian icons hung on a wall
Close-up of sign hung on an aid vehicle reads: “An initiative of love and solidarity towards from Tal Tamer and Khabour.”
Close-up of sign on aid vehicle “Syriac Cross Organization for Relief & Development”
Medium of sign on aid vehicle “Syriac Cross Organization for Relief & Development”
From the beginning of the battle for Kobane, many volunteers from numerous districts around Turkey gathered in the villages close to the border to help patrol the border and prevent ISIS fighters from slipping in and out of Syria. Despite the fact that that Kurdish forces have now cleared Kobane of ISIS fighters, volunteers still patrol in the villages close to the border, fearing ISIS remnants will slip through.
Interview with Halit Çelikarslan – Villager
00.37– 00.50: Since the first day of the resistance, from different parts of Turkey, even from abroad, people came here, with the aim of helping the people resisting in Kobane.
00.52 – 00.56: We received help from them.
00.57 – 01.26: Usually young people and women were coming here. They worked united, stayed in tents for days in bad weather conditions and served the cause in many ways.
Interview with Emin Baran – Lawyer and Volunteer aid worker in Suruc
01.31 – 01.36: Why were the border patrols initially started?
01.36 – 01.43 People were passing the border from Kobane to here, so people felt obligated to welcome them, since their passage was stopped frequently [by Turkish border patrols].
01.44 – 01.46 [Turkish] Soldiers tried to keep them in restricted areas.
01.47 – 01.53 Some of them [refugees] were injured. So, to have a front group on the border became necessary.
01.56 – 02.04 After the displacement came to the end, people kept patrolling in order to ensure that ISIS would not get help in Kobane.
02.05 – 02.10 Essentially, it was aimed to not letting ISIS gain strength in Kobane by using Turkish land.
02.18 – 02.28 The border patrols had two purposes. First, to show the people of Kobane that others are supporting them in their resistance.
02.29 – 02.35 Second, to narrow the movements of ISIS in Turkey. [Turkish] Soldiers blockaded the villages in which people were border guarding.
02.36 – 02.46 Every time the [Turkish] soldiers tried to force people to leave the [border] villages [which were located literally right beside ISIS held areas]. ISIS attacks gained enormous strength, immediately after.
02.47 – 02.50 Without exception, this happened each and every time.
Interview with Figen Yaşar-Mayor of Mus Bulanik from HDP
02.52 – 02.56 We initially came here during the beginning of the resistance in Kobane.
02.57 – 03.02 We first watched the border for seven days, during the peak of the clashes.
03.03 – 03.07 After, we went back to Muş and Bulanık, where we came.
03.09 – 03.16 During our second shift [on the border] we stayed here for nine days. Those days the clashes were really severe.
03.17 – 03.23 From Kobane to the air, smoke and fire clouds were raising.
03.24 – 03.30 We brought 12-13 martyr bodies to our village alone.
03.31 – 03.37 They were all the children of this land. Some of them joined to the war three months ago, some five months, and some six years.
03.39 – 03.46 Kobane has been cleansed [of ISIS fighters], but there are hundreds of villages connected to the Kobane [which ISIS controls].
03.47 – 04.02 Until the villages of Kobane are liberated, until the people of Kobane go back their homes and settle there, the people of Kurdistan and Turkey will guard and keep guarding.
Interview with Head of the security in the Village-(Name withheld)
04.07 – 04.13 I am responsible for the security of this district. I have been here for 95 days.
04.13 – 04.19 We explain to the border guards how to prevent ISIS from crossing.
04.20 – 04.23 Usually they cross from this district.
04.25 – 04.29 The ones who want to participate can easily cross the border.
04.30 – 04.36 As you see, that's the border for the guards. Between 6 pm and 6 am people [civilians] keep guarding.
04.38 – 04.42 There are other check points in other villages.
04.43 – 04.50 When they see them [refugees] from the distance, they inform us and we help them through.
04.54 – 04.57 The border guards notices us.
05.03 – 05.04 “hello” “hello”
05.10 – 05.11 Are taking over the shift?
05.11 – 05.12 Yes, two people in each shift.
05.19 – 05.20 Thank you.
05.28 – 05.29 We keep guard here, we can't leave.
05.29 – 05.31 We came for the shift change. You can leave now.
Filiz Aydın - Volunteer Watch Guard
05.34 – 05.42 We began guarding when ISIS come to Kobane. Not only in this village, but also in others.
05.43 – 05.55 The reason I keep guard is to prevent ISIS soldiers crossing the border. I also lost my brother at the war.
05.56 – 05.58 Not in Kobane, but in Rojava, in Serikani, I lost my brother.
05.59 – 06.04 My brother might be still alive if we watched the borders in Serikani.
06.06 – 06.14 It was his cause, and if we have the same cause, if we want his dreams to come true, we can also contribute.
06.15 – 06.25 Not everyone can get involved in armed battles in the mountains. Not everyone can fight in Kobane, but you can do whatever your hands find to do.
06.27 – 06.32 We say Kobane got liberated, but some of the villages are still under the siege.
06.33 – 06.39 Even if Kobane is cleansed [of ISIS], it's not just Kobane. Until Rojava gets liberated...
06.41 – 06.47 As I said it's not only about ISIS, it was first Al-Nusrah, Al-Qaida, and now ISIS.
06.48 – 06.54 There is Qamishle, Afrin... Until Rojava is completely cleansed,
06.55 – 07.05 Until the canton's [Rojava] political autonomy is recognized by the world, this is my opinion, the threat won't be defeated.
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.
December 16, 2014
Iraqi security forces repelled an ISIS attack on Ramadi city center, in the Anbar province in Iraq. The special counter terrorist unit then launched a counterattack on ISIS locations in the the center of the city, with the support of fighters from local Sunni tribes.
According to a local security source, who refused to give his name, the attack caused the death of 13 ISIS fighters. In addition, the Iraqi forces seized light and heavy munitions, along with seven ISIS fighters who surrendered to the police during the conflict.
Over the past year Iraqi armed forces, with the support of Sunni tribal fighters, have been battling ISIS militants in many areas of the majority Sunni province of Anbar, in an attempt to regain control over the area.
Amer al-obeidi, Lieutenant, (Man, Arabic):
(01:33-01:59) "The attack was blocked, and our groups moved forward towards the area. In the upcoming days, the whole area will be wiped out. There is cooperation between the security forces and the army forces. We are ready to clean all the areas of remaining members of ISIS."
Ahmed al-Fahdawi, Field Commander, (Man, Arabic):
(02:00-02:14) "We are ready to fight ISIS and all the terrorist organizations that are pushing against us from the outside. We are hanging in here and we do not need anything, we only need the tribes because our strength lies in our cooperation with the tribes."
Six months ago, the threats of the Islamic State started to affect Iraqi Christians, causing hundreds of them fled their homes and sought refuge either within the country or in other countries. Some of these families found refuge in Lebanon.
Sed el Baouchriye is an area in the northern suburbs of Beirut that is home to large Chaldean, Assyrian and Syriac lebanese communities. This is where the Iraqi refugees settled.
This video is about the situation of Iraqi Christians in Lebanon six months after they fled their country. It explores how they live and who takes care of them. The video also includes an interview with Father Sarkoun Zoumaya, the archdiocese of St. Georges Assyrian Church in Sed el Baouchriye, explaining the current situation of the Iraqi refugees in Lebanon.
1 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Iraqi Refugee, Khanem Shaker Kina
(00:00) My children are staying without education. They have done more than enough to us in Lebanon, but life is difficult. Rent is expensive; we have no one to help us. We will not go back to Iraq. we were not happy there, so we will return (00:35) UNINTELLIGIBLE UNTIL 00:53.
2 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Iraqi Refugee, Imad
(00:54) We were displaced from our home country Iraq and we went to Turkey, but we found difficulties in living. My family is Christian and we did not pray or practice our beliefs. So we decided to come to Lebanon, and we thank the Lebanese government for receiving us and we are very happy now, at least we can pray. On Sunday we go to the mass and, we meet our Iraqi friends. Everybody is happy. We miss Iraq, of course. It is our country… our Assyrian heritage and culture, our Iraqi Christianity… We do not devote time to send a message to the Western countries, but if they can help in any way, help us move to another country, we cannot live anymore in Iraq. Iraq is dangerous now. There is no discrimination, my family and are very happy in Lebanon. I see my friends, we drink coffee all together. I met some new people too, some of them are Lebanese and they treat us very well. We are very happy in Lebanon (02:45).
3 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Iraqi Refugee
(00:46) I need to travel to Europe. I need to apply for a visa. We are not very happy here. I have some Iraqi friends in Sed al Baouchriye but I do not work at the moment, I want to work but I cannot find a job. Hope? Yes, everything is fine. I am happy in Lebanon but my situation is not very good, my health situation. There is no hope in going back to Iraq. There is no life in Iraq with the robbery, killing, bombing and ISIS.. (03:38).
4 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Priest, Sarkoun Zoumaya
(03:39) The majority of the people are not working. Lebanon has taken in too much workers and too much people, and cannot find jobs for the new comers. Lebanon provides a temporary refuge, for a year or two. They [Iraqi Refugees] have submitted their papers for foreign countries either through the United Nations or through a sponsor such as a brother, sister or father in Australia, United States or Canada, they are waiting to leave. Every day, one, two families or five families leave. The adaptation is becoming difficult now, especially when a stranger comes here, he needs more time to adapt with the situations here. The West is not trying to protect the Christians while in their homeland, so there is some unclear concerning this migration issue: Do they want a Middle East without Christians, while our heritage is 2,000 or 3,000 years old? We have more than 120 children that we are helping in their education in the school, and if we do not get aid, the school will close in one moth or two. We cannot carry all of this burden alone. We are helping 120 children in our church by giving them clothes. We are also helping them by paying their school fees, but if we do not receive any aid from the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Social Affairs or the NGOs… They are specialised in humanitarian care. They should show mercy towards these refugees so that they can live like other human beings (05:57).
5 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Iraqi Refugee, Julius
(05:57) No one helped me. I brought money [from Iraq] but now I do not have much. No one hired me, they say I am old. My son is handicapped. I used to go to the church, they used to help me there. Caritas helped me only once ever since I came from Iraq. I want the United Nations to help me… to help me get out of Lebanon (06:41).
Various of Iraqi refugee father teaching prayers to two young girls
Various of men praying at church
Various of house interior
Various of Iraq woman working at home
M/S of house from outside
Various of streets
Various of Iraqi families at home
A photo reportage, realized at the end of November 2014, illustrating the challenging situation faced in the Kurdish city of Suruç and its region overwhelmed by Syrian refugees. Heavy fighting between Kurdish forces and Daesh have been raging inside the city of Kobane, located only a few kilometers away on the other side of the Turkish-Syrian border, for more than three months at that time.
December 21, 2014
The Iraqi army regained control over Al-Wafaa district, located to the west of Ramadi, nine days after ISIS controlled it. In a hours battle between ISIS the Iraqi army with the support of the popular crowd forces, Ahl al-hak brigade, and Karbala brigade.
Military personnel found houses and cars rigged with explosives as well as a workshop in which ISIS fighters set up explosive devices. ISIS suffered material and human losses as a large number of ISIS fighters were killed while others fled across the desert.
Al-Wafaa area, is a part of al-Anbar province and located 40 Km to the south of it, 550 Km to the west of Baghdad, and on the highway leading to Jordan.
It was occupied by ISIS for being a strategic location that connects al-Anbar and Karbala.
Ahmad El Shummari, Iraqi soldier (Man, Arabic)
(01:48-02:12) We liberated it, we did not leave any ISIS members there. We killed some of them. We took down their flags from the towers and placed the flag of al-Hussein instead.
unnamed citizen (Man, Arabic)
(03:21-03:33) The only thing that remained is their flag, we took it down and placed the Iraqi flag instead.
It was on the telecommunication tower over there.
Lieutenant Atheerr Hamza Al Jassem Al Raobaei, Commander Of The 29th Brigade In The Iraqi Army (Man, Arabic)
(03:49-04:18) It took us four hours to liberate the area from ISIS and cause them great material and human losses. We now have a new stage of operation, which is cleansing the area from land mines, so we can allow the citizens to enter this area and guarantee their safety.
(04:30- 04:39) Those brave soldiers enter dangerous areas, their motto is victory of death, and this is what our religious leader had asked us to do.
Ali Al Mayyali, Second Mayor Representative For Karbala Province, Commander For The Karbala Brigade "The Popular Crowd Forces" (Man, Arabic)
(05:05-05:35) This area is on the same line as Karbala, it takes 60-70 Km from al-Rahaleya to reach Karbala. Th surrounding villages and areas are occupied by ISIS members. So we do not allow those areas to be a passage to reach Karabala, as they plan to do. And as you have seen the bomb factory that contains thousands of bombs.
(04:41-06:11) If we look at the area from the west, from the side of al-Rutba, Aana, al-Kaem, al-Kobaisi, al-Mohamadi, and al-Heet and how they entered and took control over those areas in order to reach al-Rahaleya. The areas that i have mentioned are under ISIS control and they are being liberated by the Public crowd forces and the army. I blame the tribes, they did not participate and they did not have an influence as media outlets have mentioned.
December 16, 2014
The International Organization for Migration, IOM, distributes blankets and mattresses among the refugees in Suleimaniya, North-East of Baghdad.
The refugees who fled their homes in Nineveh and Salahuddine after several attacks by ISIS, are complaining about not receiving the money they were promised by the Iraqi government.
(00:22-00:32) Saleh, Refugee (Man, Arabic): "Today, and in front of you we will be receiving the aid that involves basic furniture for each refugee."
(00:32-00:41) Um Nasser, Refugee (Woman, Arabic): The government only gave us 500 Dinars, we were promised to receive a million, and the government only gave us 500 Dinars."
Interviewer: "why, what is the reason?"
Um Nasser: "Maybe the government stole it."
(01:17-01:44) Adel, Refugee (Man, Arabic): "We do not have oil, we do not have food, neither there nor here. What is our destiny. On the news we hear that the government received 500 billion, aid from other countries. Why don't they distribute it among us. Aren't we Iraqis. If they do not want us they should tell us to go and leave the country for the politicians."
November 9, 2014
Khanaqin, Diyala, Iraq
Refugees in the UNHCR camp, near the town of Khanaqin, are living in life threatening conditions. They were promised free check ups and treatment by the local government and NGOs but have so far received none. Forced to flee their homes in Mosul and other parts of the Nineveh province, after ISIS took over vast areas of northern Iraq, many of the refugees require urgent medical attention or suffer from incurable diseases. In desperation, some are using what little money they have for appointments with independent doctors who charge 1500 Iraqi Dinars ($1.30) just for a check up.
Um Majed, refugee, (Woman, Arabic):
(02:06-02:28) "I am a refugee from al-Saadeya, al-Asreya village. We fled five months ago. We were not offered any doctors or medication. I am sick and I have a slipped disc in my spinal chord. I cannot afford to go to a doctor. My husband had a stroke two years ago, we have to buy his medications for 4000-5000 Dinar ($3-4) a box and we cannot afford it. Nobody has came to check on us."
Mustafa, refugee, (Man, Arabic):
(03:06-03:33) "I am a sick man, I suffer from five illnesses. I have had a heart attack and a stroke, I have diabetes, hight blood pressure and asthma. I suffer from so many diseases and we are here in the camp. We have no medication. My five year-old son has diabetes, it started six months ago, ever since the problems started."
Abdulqader, refugee, (Man, Arabic):
(03:59-04:22) "If a doctor comes here, he charges 1500 Dinar ($1.30), We ask him to minimize the charge, he says that he has official receipts form the health directory of Diala. For chronic diseases he charges 1500 Dinar. How can people afford that? The doctor writes the prescription, and without providing any medications, he charges 1500 Dinar. None of the refugees have an income to afford that."
Abu Mohamed, refugee, (Man, Arabic): (04:44-04:56) "I have been running to help my daughter who is sick. I took her to the health care unit, and they have no medication. I spent over 40,000 Dinar ($35) on my sick daughters, all of them are sick."
December 3, 2014
Police and Iraqi government forces dismantle bombs planted by ISIS fighters in mosques and civilian homes in Al-Hoz, Anbar before they retreated. Fierce battles between ISIS and forces loyal to the Iraqi government continue in Iraq's largest province. The Iraqi government has launched a full scale military offensive to secure Anbar. The footage shows a large number of booby traps that were planted by ISIS.
Various shots of a tank firing a shell.
Wide shot of officers near a tank.
Various shots of SWAT officers inspecting explosive devices.
Interview, security officer addresses soldiers (Man, Arabic)
“Hold on for a few days; they have collapsed. They do not even have any gear. They can no longer resist. God willing, this issue will be over in two or three days. God bless you.”
Wide shot of fighters carrying explosive devices.
Interview, security member carrying explosive device (Man, Arabic)
“This is supposed to be a mosque dedicated to God.”
Interview, security member (Man, Arabic)
“They planted these explosives in a mosque, which is dedicated to God. Let the silent clerics hear this.”
Interview, security member (Man, Arabic)
“These are the heroes in front of you – the ranks and officers. They are willing to sacrifice their lives. This explosive device weighs 20 kilograms. They placed it in a mosque; this is not Islam. They say: ‘We are the sons of [local] clans’– but they Arabs and… foreigners. They planted [bombs] in homes. Why?
“You can see the bombs in front of you. God willing, security forces are in control.”
27 November 2014 Destruction from recent airstrikes in Raqqa by Syrian Regime warplanes.
November 30, 2014
To protect themselves from ISIS attacks, members of the Iraqi army and other militias dug trenches around the town of Amerli, 120km east of Tikrit. The narrow trenches are designed to stop enemy vehicles from driving into the territory around Amerli. The town is located 100km from the Iranian border and populated largely by Shia Turkmen. It was besieged by ISIS starting in June 2014 and was running out of food, water and supplies before it was liberated in September with the help of the Kurdish Peshmerga and coalition air strikes. Iran reportedly played a "military planning" role in breaking the siege.
Soldier 1, (man, Arabic):
(01:43-02:09) "As you can see we dug a trench to protect and defend ourselves from any possible attack by the enemy. These trenches will make it less easy for the enemy to cross into our territories. We thank the fighters and the mujahideen for protecting our front lines all day and night."
Soldier 2, (man, Arabic):
(02:10-02:59) "We built these defenses so we stop the invasion of terrorism from the other side. We dug these trenches on all sides of the city, and we have fighters deployed everywhere. These defenses are mainly used to stop vehicle invasions. If these trenches had been dug before, their tanks and vehicles would never have crossed in the first place."
November 29, 2014
The Iraqi army, with the help of the local militias and the Peshmerga, captured a number of military vehicles used by ISIS and burned them. Fighters are seen celebrating on the burned out shells of the cars which they captured after fighting with ISIS insurgents. The town of Amerli is located 120km east of Tikrit and 100km west from the Iranian border and populated largely by Shia Turkmen. It was besieged by ISIS starting in June 2014 and was running out of food, water and supplies before it was liberated in September with the help of the Kurdish Peshmerga and coalition air strikes. Iran reportedly played a "military planning" role in breaking the siege.
Man 1, (man, Arabic):
(00:55-01:30): "We burned their vehicles after they attacked us. The fighter's fate is not only to be burnt, but to be buried like rats. These are not the only vehicles we burned; there are some tanks and some Hummers as well."
Mohammed Ahmed Fares, civilian from Amerli, (man, Arabic):
(01:31-02:15): "These burnt cars are located on the borders of Amerli where heavy attacks led by ISIS erupted. This is the fate of those ISIS men who try to threaten the country's security and its population. We are ready to continue our jihad and our loyalty in order to kick out these terrorists, who try to mess with our stability and security."
November 27, 2014
Ramadi, Anbar, Iraq
More Iraqi troops being sent to Ramadi, a majority Sunni area, to help Sunni tribal fighters and Shia militants in their fight against ISIS. This action was taken after Iraqi army and militia fighters held of an ISIS assault on a government complex in central Ramadi, on Wednesday night.
The video shows military Humvees roving the streets of Ramadi and saluting the troops. Sheikh Hassan, a head of a coalition of Sunni tribal fighters, celebrates the defeat of ISIS, surrounded by his soldiers.
"ISIS, we will hit you in the knee so you would bow down,
We will curse your ancestors and whoever supports you,
The courageous men have risen to fight, unlike you,
They will destroy people like you,
ISIS, you have existed in the past,
You fought the prophet and slaughtered the judge,
Today we avenge the father of al-Hassan and al-Hussein,
We will come and face you, so you should be afraid."
November 9, 2014
The Islamic State "Control and Inspection Office" is one of the most active governing ministries in Raqqa. This footage shows members of the ministry searching for expired or spoiled products and products subject to poor storage in the stores and warehouses of Raqqa. The products are then confiscated and destroyed in public.
Other active Islamic State public offices in Raqqa include the Traffic Police Office and the Islamic Services Office.
-Ministry employee finishing his work in the office
-Ministry workers parading in the streets of Raqqa
-Ministry officers fining shop owners for having poor or expired products in their stores.
-One of the shop owners (interviewed) talks about the fining process: either they sign a commitment (pledge paper) or their shop will be sealed with red wax for several days.
-Products are taken to a public square in Raqqa, where Hisbah [Islamic State enforcers] men destroy a small amount of these products in front of the citizens, and the larger amount is taken to the dumpsite.
(00:08) Abu Al Bara’, worker at the Control and Inspection Office: The office was established in the city of Raqqa, and it is divided into two departments: the first is the most important department, the “Health Control Office”. Its main task is to monitor the markets and control the goods in the shops. This division fines shop owners and the case is referred to the court in order to take the right decision. The second division is the “Meat Department”. It is responsible for monitoring all kinds of meat in the State. This department punishes those who slaughter [their animals] outside a slaughterhouse (00:45).
(01:33) Abu Ahmad, a shop owner: Al hamdulillah [Thank god], the Islamic State established the Control and Inspection Office, and it has played a good role. He who defrauds is not one of us من غش فليس منا [Islamic Saying]. However sometimes, the shop owner unwittingly forgets some products on the shelves, and other times, other shoppers do it on purpose, but God punishes them. They usually warn the owners the first time, and then they destroy their products if they repeat.
(02:27) Abu Qahtan, one of the Hisbah men: Bismillah ir-Rahmanir-Rahim [In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate], this is the Control and Inspection Office of the Islamic State. We seized large amounts of spoiled or expired products and products that were subject to poor storage. [This includes] food to beauty products. These products were seized in the shops of the Raqqa market, [and are valued at] approximately 2,000,000 SYP (11979.66 USD). We will destroy them now in front of everyone in this public square (03:12).
This footage was shot by a contributor who had clearance from the Islamic State to film in Raqqa. The footage was reviewed and approved by the Islamic State before being released.
November 4, 2014
Amidst tight security, Lebanese Shia citizens defy ISIS bomb threats and participate in Ashura celebrations in Beirut's southern suburbs.
Ashura commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein in the battle of Karbala in 680AD. While primarily a religious celebration, Ashura in Lebanon is highly tied to politics. This year's rally in south Beirut ended with a speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who defended his party's military actions in Syria.
Sunni militant groups like ISIS and Nusra Front have been threatening to attack Hezbollah controlled and Shia dominant areas in Lebanon in revenge for Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian conflict. Last year, Beirut's southern suburbs experienced a wave bombings at the hands of Nusra affiliated militants.
November 4, 2014
The Islamic State "Control and Inspection Office" gather and destroy expired or illegally smuggled cosmetics, beauty products, food products, and detergents. The products were destroyed under the prerogative of consumer protection. Since seizing control of Raqqa and large areas of Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State has made a concerted effort to demonstrate an ability to govern the areas it controls.
November 4, 2014
While the Syrian-Kurdish cantons of Kobane and Qamishle remain under ISIS pressure and siege, the third Kurdish canton of Afrin is preparing to face any threats that may come its way and continue to be a refuge for minorities and other civilians fleeing ISIS, al-Nusra Front, and the Syrian Government. Part of these preparations involve the establishment of training camps for fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units, also known as the YPG. The commando training camp on the outskirts of Afrin is run by a woman named Busayna, who honed her military skills in the Qandil mountains of Iraq and now teaches them to the fighters of Afrin. Together with their male counterparts, the women of the YPG are now playing an integral part in securing one of the last safe Kurdish refuges in Syria.
Deir Ez Zour, Syria
Foreign ISIS fighters in Deir Ez Zour declare their desire to confront the international coalition on the ground and personally behead them.
This rare footage provides a personalized look at the diversity and ideological determination of ISIS fighters. Some of the fighters originate from places as far flung as east Asia. Their fervor is matched in the Islamic State's efforts to spread their ideology amongst the local population, including children, using chilling mass execution videos.
Footage includes interviews with foreign ISIS fighters from east Asia and other places, footage of child indoctrination, fighters at prayer time, ISIS patrols and checkpoints, and more.
This footage was shot by a contributor who obtained approval from the ISIS media center to shoot video in the city. This footage was reviewed and approved by ISIS before it was delivered.
This is a highlight reel. A full 36:46 minutes of footage is available and provides more depth and detail.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This video was recorded by a Syrian contributor who is a resident of Deir ez Zour. He is not member of ISIS and has not sworn allegiance to the group. He obtained approval from ISIS to shoot video in the city and was escorted by an ISIS member while recording the video. He was required to submit the video to ISIS for screening and review. Some scenes were removed at the direction of ISIS before the contributor was permitted to distribute the final version of the video.
00:00 – 00:12
A close up shot shows a billboard that reads: “The Islamic State congratulates the people of Mayadeen city for the establishment of the Islamic caliphate.”
The camera zooms out to show cars and motorcycles driving by an ISIS checkpoint below the billboard.
Drivers slow down at an ISIS checkpoint. An ISIS fighter wearing combat fatigues and a knee-long shirt exchanges a few words with the drivers and shakes the hand of some of them before letting them through.
00:23 – 00:27
A close up shot shows an ISIS flag; the camera zooms out to show form below a fighter wearing desert camouflage fatigues standing to it.
01:17 – 01:25
An ISIS fighter recites the call for prayer. The fighter’s surrounding is pixilated.
01:26 – 01:36
Fighters pray inside a small room with the ISIS flag hanging on the wall.
01:37 – 01:46
Fighters drive around the town in a patrol car. Some of them have their faces covered. Two women wearing the niqab walk past the car.
02:28 – 02:51
A night shot shows an audience watching an ISIS propaganda film. Half naked prisoners of war can be seen on the screen, probably from the battle in which ISIS took over the regime-held Tabaqa Airport in the province of Raqqa in August 2014.
02:52 – 03:18
In the same location, man wearing a turban chants and children repeat after him:
“Oh man whose head is tied with a bandanna, where are you?
“All the tyrants are out there, but they do not dare to attack us. Oh man whose head is tied with a bandanna, where are you?"
“We defend [against the tyrants] with cars rigged with explosives, cannons and explosive belts. Oh man whose head is tied with a bandanna, where are you?”
03:19 – 03:24
In the same location, a close up shot shows one of the teenagers in the audience and the camera then zooms out to show a larger part of the crowd.
The speaker calls on the children to say Allahu Akbar (God is great).
The children shout: “Allahu Akbar!”
The speaker then say: “The State of Islam…”
The children complete his sentence, saying: “…shall remain!”
00:28 – 00:37
(A fighter with Southeast Asian features is standing among other fighters who have similar features; classical Arabic with a heavy accent).
“This is a malicious crusader campaign waged by America against the beloved Islamic State.”
00:38 – 00:49
(A fighter sitting in a patrol car; Arabic)
“If they have America and Russia and the infidel powers on their side, we have God on ours. Anyone with a mind should think about this: Who will overcome, God almighty or America and its allies?”
00:50 – 01:07
(A fighter sitting in a patrol car; Arabic)
“Only what God has written shall happen to us. Neither America, nor [the Saudi rulers] or the entire world will be able to do [anything]. Our morale is high. By God, we shall defeat Bashar [al-Assad] and America, and purge Saudi Arabia from [the House of Saud].”
01:08 – 01:16
(A young boy sitting on the sidewalk; Arabic)
“My brother was sitting there and the warplane bombed… First we did not know what it really was.”
01:47 – 02:28
(A fighter holding a Kalashnikov rifle sitting next to another fighter; Arabic with a North African accent)
“They believe that they are bombing us from above while we are below; nay, with God’s will, we are above. We rely on God, and God is above everyone. We are above their strength and their weapons. With God’s will, we are waiting for them to cut their heads off. Soon, we will conquer them. We will take them and their women prisoners and sell them in the slave market. God willing, they will be our slaves.”