Tags / Iraq
December 24, 2014
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
December 21 2014
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.
Each element of ISIS grown 70 explosive device in the day .. and explosive materials are from the retreating army ammunition.
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 22, 2014
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?"
December 18, 2014
Militants of the Shiite militia Asa’eb Ahl al-Haq, clash with ISIS fighters in the small town of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in an effort to protect the shrine of Imam Mohammad Bin Ali al-Hadi.
The Shia fighters control positions in Dujail along the Tigris River and around the shrine of Shiite Imam Mohammad Bin Ali al-Hadi. They are also deployed in the grove in the Nibai' area that separates Samarra from Fallujah.
December 18, 2014
Location : Iraq
In Northern Iraq, the Kurdish Peshmerga continues the battle against the Islamic State, who seized huge parts of Syria and Iraq since their rise in June of this year. Backed by the United States and 40 other nations, the fighters recaptured large strips of land from over the last weeks.
In Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan a battalion of women sharpen their skills and prepare to take the fight to engage the Islamic State. While they have not seen combat yet, they stand prepared to defend their families, friends, and their homeland.
December 17, 2014
Hundreds on Iraqi drivers are stuck in their cars on a muddy road near Ramadi in Anbar Province west of Baghdad.
The Iraqi army closed the main highway between Ramadi and the Sajariya district east of the city for security reasons, forcing drivers to use an alternate unpaved road.
Several days of heavy rain turned the road to mud, causing cars to become stuck and creating a long traffic jam. Employees have been unable get to work and refugees from areas where there is fighting have been stuck in their cars on the road for more than 24 hours.
The Iraqi army and Sunni tribal fighters launched an offensive in late November 2014 to drive ISIS militants out of the Sajariya area, which is under partial control of the group.
(02:41-03:24) Ossama, Employee (man, Arabic):
"We have been stuck for two days, we cannot cross over to go to work. The main road is blocked by the army, for protection purposes, because the security situation is unstable. This road, as you can see here, is not useful. This area has been occupied for over a month by three or four people of those who want to create an Islamic state. We do not want your Islamic state; we do not want this type of Islam. They should come see the families and the women who are tripping and falling in the mud since yesterday, and people cannot even get to their workplaces."
(03:25-03:38) Ibrahim, Refugee from Ramadi (man, Arabic):
"People are fleeing, going back and forth and the roads are blocked. Nobody is able to leave this area, in all this mud. Even if someone needs to transport a sick person or do something urgent, he cannot cross over."
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."
Escaping ISIS, a Christian family from Iraq begins a new life in France.
Escaping ISIS, a Christian family from Iraq begins a new life in France.
Escaping ISIS, a Christian family from Iraq begins a new life in France.
Escaping ISIS, a Christian family from Iraq begins a new life in France.
December 12, 2014
Approximately 20 mortars were dropped on the night of Thursday, December 11, 2014, in inhabited areas in the west neighborhoods of Karbala.
According to eye witnesses, the mortars were fired from the border of al-Hizam al-Akhdar area, using a mobile platform placed in the back of a pickup truck, and landed two kilometers from the holy shrines in the center of Karbala.
The same local source claimed that the shelling caused at least one death and 20 injuries, including children, and damaged some homes.
The attack comes as millions of Shiites from all over the world head to holy shrines in Karbala to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. This is a religious tradition Shiite Muslims have been observing for over 1300 years.
Um Nour (Woman, Arabic):
"His brother is in the hospital, and their younger son is in the hospital. He is the only one who died. Nobody else died."
Interviewer: What happened yesterday?
"A mortar hit, it was dropped in their backyard, go check it out. It was big to the extent that our stuff fell on the ground."
Um Hussein (Woman, Arabic):
"Yesterday at 11:30pm, a missile was dropped on their house. They have five children and they are all young. The youngest is one year and a half old. They were great people, we have been their neighbors for 20 years."
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 9, 2014
Last season Amir and Adib Gerges, sibling farmers, were unable to sell their harvest because of an ISIS attack on their homes, in the town of al-Qosh in the largely Christian Nineveh Valley, forced them to flee. Since then, their town has been retaken by the Kurdish Peshmerga and the brothers have returned to work on their farms, despite the fact that ISIS controls territory less than 10km away. The brothers are some of the very few farmers who were brave enough to return to their land. Other farmers either ran away from the conflict or are too scared to return because of the ongoing threat of fighting and land mines laid by retreating ISIS fighters. The brothers heard about the 13-year-old son of a farmer who died after stepping on a mine, in the neighboring town of Tel Isqof. Amir and Adib say that, although their safety is not guaranteed, they have no choice but to stay and work on their ancestral land.
Adib Gerges, Farmer (Man, Arabic)
(00:18-00:27) Interviewer: How much wheat did you plant today?
Adib: “Approximately 40-50 Dunam.”
Interviewer: How many Dunams left to plant?
Adib: “About 20-30 Dunams.”
Amir Gerges, Farmer, (Man, Arabic)
(01:08-01:17) Interviewer: Aren't you afraid?
Amir: “We are counting on God. We are not doing anything wrong.”
(01:22-01:42) Interviewer: You are in an unsafe area, in Nineveh valley. What guarantees do you have that it is safe to keep working on your land? Do you have hope?
Adib: “We are counting on God and God will help us, we hope for things to be resolved.”
Interviewer: What is this?
Adib Gerges: “Seeds for wheat .”
Worker, (Man, Arabic)
(03:38-03:46) Interviewer: Are you not afraid to work here?
Worker: “No why would I be afraid? God is with us and he will help us, why would we be afraid?
Interviewer: How do you feel when ISIS is so close to you?
Adib: “The Peshmerga are here, and we wish for better things to come.”
Interviewer: How much did you harvest?
Adib: “Out of 100 Dunams, we harvested 30.”
Interviewer: What did you do with it?
Adib: “We did not take it to the market yet.”
Adib: “We did not have time when the conflict happened. We left the area and did not have time to take the wheat to market so it stayed packed in the houses.”
Interviewer: When did you start farming?
Adib: “It is a very old profession, our fathers and grand-fathers worked in cultivation and we are continuing on the same path.”
Interviewer: Do you intended to leave your land?
Adib: “No, our land is very precious, we cannot leave it.”
Interviewer: “Many Christians left their land and went to Europe and many other places.”
Adib: “What can I tell you? Each person does what he pleases.”
Interviewer: What do you think?
Adib: “We hope for the best and that we never have to leave our land.”
Interviewer: Many Christians left the area, but you stayed to guard your land. Why?
Amir: “Yes, the land is very precious, we cannot leave or land. Our country is also precious. This situation will definitely come to an end and the problems will be solved. We work, benefit, and raise our children well. We give them good education and live well. That is what we should do. War and fighting helps nobody.”
(07:32-07:49) Amir: “A person does not abandon his land, his home, and his country. Wherever this person goes, he will find himself a stranger. We cannot leave our land. It is too valuable to us.”
Amir: “The Pershmerga forces are controlling the area. One farmer stepped on a ground-mine, it exploded and he died. He was 13 years old, and had three siblings. It happened about 10-15 days ago.”
Interviewer: Who planted those mines?
Amir Gerges: “Nobody except ISIS.”
(08:50-09:14) Amir: “We have no manure so we bought some from the black market. Concerning gas, we received help from Kurdistan.”
December 4, 2014
Ramadi, Anbar, Iraq
Tribes in Anbar continue their fight against ISIS in the suburbs of Al Sajariya and Al Soufiya in the city of Ramadi, without assistance from the Iraqi army. The Abu Ghanem tribe's only demand is for the Iraq government to supply them with weapons as soon as possible, since they have almost run out of ammunition. As their demand has not yet been met, the fighters bought weapons of their own accord, to protect themselves and their lands.
(00:22) Fighter 1: "We [the tribes] have been here Al Soufiya for 9 months and a week. We don't have equipment or heavy artillery yet and we will keep fighting with the equipment we have until the government supplies us with more. We will keep fighting until the last person of the tribe dies. Inshallah we will keep standing and we will protect Al Soufiya. They can only capture Al Soufiya in their dreams, we are ready to die defending this town." (00:58)
(00:59) Fighter 2: "We are members of Abu Ghanem Tribe, and they won't take our land while we are still alive. We have strong men to oppose them and they cannot take 1 meter of Al Soufiya. We were able to drive them out of Al Sajariya and if God wills it, we can do more. If anyone tries to take our town, whether it is ISIS or not, we will crush their heads ourselves, since the government has not given us any weapons or vehicles. We fight using our own weapons and cars. We ask the government to support us; we were waiting for the engineers to defuse the bombs but they did not come so we had some men who decided to volunteer to defuse them." (02:05)
(02:06) Fighter 3: "We ask the government to support us by sending us heavy weapons. We [the Abu Ghanem Tribe] are fighting using our light weapons. We demand the weapons to be delivered at the soonest possible date." (02:26)
December 3, 2014
Amirli, Salahuddin, Iraq
Cornas is a Shiite Turkmen village which ISIS took control over around one month ago. The residents say that ISIS burned and destroyed 80 houses in their village as well as a Shiite mosque. The Iraqi Army, with the help of fighters from the 'Saraya al-Salam' brigade retook the village.
Nour Edime Ali
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.”
December 2, 2014
Bald and Dujeil, Iraq
Battles between the Shia militia Al-Abbas Combat Division (ACD) and ISIS continue in the outskirts of the towns of Dujeil and Balad, located, respectively, around 75 and 100 kilometers to the north of Baghdad.
Fighters from this newly formed military group were transported from the southern city of Karbala on Friday, November 28 and deployed on several fronts against ISIS in northern and western Iraq.
More than 20 ACD fighters have been killed and injured in these battles.
The ACD militia was formed in August 2014 and is loyal to the Iraqi federal government and Ayatollah Ali Sistani.
A wide shot shows fighters cross a bridge to take positions on the other side.
A wide shot shows fighters setting up a mortar.
Several wide shots show fighters firing a heavy machine gun mounted on pickup trucks. One of the vehicle hoists the Iraqi federal flag.
A medium shot shows a fighter behind a heavy machine gun talking to his colleague.
Several wide shots show fighters firing Kalashnikov rounds from behind earthworks.
A wide shot shows an open field while gunshots could be heard in the background.
A wide shot shows a fighter firing single shots from an M16 rifle.
Several wide shots show fighters positioned behind earthworks.
A wide shot shows a fighter firing single shots from an M16 rifle and another assuming a position to fire sniper shots.
A wide shot shows a fighter firing single shots from a Kalashnikov rifle.
A traveling shot from inside a vehicle shows an open field while talking on walkie-talkie could be heard.
A traveling shot shows an open field and fighters in a vehicle.
A traveling shot shows fighters positioned on a building rooftop. Banners of Imam Hussein, a central figure for Shiite Muslims, could be seen near the barricades.
A wide shot shows a fighter praying while other fighters could be seen in the background standing near the banner of Imam Hussein.
A medium shot shows a fighter firing a Kalashnikov rifle.
A wide shot shows a fighter firing sniper shots.
A wide shot shows fighters firing rounds of automatic rifles from behind barricades.
A wide shot shows a fighter setting up a machine gun mounted on a Humvee.
A wide shot shows fighters firing rounds of automatic rifles from behind barricades.
A wide shot shows a Humvee moving.
A wide shot shows a fighter firing rounds of a medium-caliber machine gun.
A wide shot shows a Humvee moving.
A wide shot shows a pickup truck with a machine gun mounted on it moving. A fighter could be seen behind the machine gun. Another fighter could be heard beseeching Shiite saints.
A close-up shot shows a fighter aiming his rifle through a hole in barricade.
A wide shot shows a fighter walking near a barricade while gunshots could be heard.
November 30, 2014
The video shows the Iraqi Armed Forces in a government compound in Ramadi, in the province of Anbar, days after it was liberated from the hands of ISIS. The building was known as al-Jahiz Building, and it was previously being used as an ISIS headquarters. For over a month, ISIS fighters and the Iraqi army along with Shia volunteers have been locked in a battle to control the city of Ramadi. Iraqi officials said that the country's military launched a major operation to retake all parts of the city, which ISIS has been regularly attacking.
(00:30) Soldier: The situation is stable now and everything is under control. Everything else is a rumor (00:40).
(02:00) Army Commander 1: We are now in the police station of Al Anbar Governorate; the situation is normal and everything is under control. All the members of the station are in position, either in the administration or on the ground. There is no presence of ISIS members in the area or in this official building; the entire region is under control. Some of the news media are promoting stories that ISIS fighters took control of the building, but it is not true (02:32).
Army Commander 2: (02:33) Some satellite TV Stations and some journalists who are promoting false news that the governmental compound is in the hands of ISIS now. But, as you can see, this news is false. We are now in this compound and our soldiers are fighting in Al Mostawdaa’ Street outside the building and in the area of Al Malaab. Today, [we killed] seven ISIS “rats” in the 20th Street, and the fights are still on with high hopes. We demand these TV stations to stop promoting false information about Al Anbar Governorate, and promote good news about security and stability in the country. And I demand some personalities who facilitate the job of the terrorists to stop what they are doing, and I warn them that justice will get you sooner or later.(04:24)
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
A regiment from Al-Abbas Combat Division (ACD), a Shia militia loyal to the Iraqi federal government, joined the fight against ISIS in Iraq. The Shia fighters will be positioned on the front lines in the towns of Balad, Ramadi and the outskirts of Kirkuk. A TTM contributor travelled with ACD fighters from the southern city of Karbala to their new front line positions and filmed them on their new posts in the town of Balad, 80km north of Baghdad.
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 29, 2014
Iraqi government forces took over the Saadiya and Jalawla suburbs of Baqubah located around 50 km to the northeast of Baghdad.
This footage shows the towns in the aftermath of the battles between government forces and ISIS that lasted for more than a day.
Interview with government fighter (Man, Arabic)
Than God, we are victorious. ISIS has been defeated.
Interview with government fighter (Man, Arabic)
The area is safe. We call on all families who have been forced to flee by ISIS to return. God willing, their houses are safe.
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 20, 2014
Hamrin Mountains, Iraq
Fighters from Al-Abbas Combat Division, a Shia militia fighting alongside the Iraqi army, pushed back ISIS fighters and set up fortifications in Hamrin Mountains.
The Shia fighters were able to enter al-Ukhaidir, a strategic small village located between Tikrit and Kirkuk, after clashes with ISIS that lasted for more than three months. According to Reda, a field commander from Al-Abbas Combat Division, the group is planning on launching an offensive to regain control over more territories controlled by ISIS fighters, who are only few hundred meters away.
Reda, Field commander (Man, Arabic):
This area is held by Al-Abbas Combat Division. In the past, ISIS was able to operate in the area but after liberating al-Ozeim dam, the battle was over with a crushing victory of the Popular Crowd Units (Shia volunteers) – the heroic men of resistance – with the support of army divisions and the air force.
This area is the last position in al-Ukhaidir village. Surrounding this village are many liberated villages protected by Popular Crowd Units. Facing it is al-Ozeim dam and on the other side is the lake that separates us from al-Ozeim dam.
Before liberating al-Ozeim dam, the enemy was able to operate in about of 70-80% [of the area] but after liberating al-Ozeim dam, very few forces of remained, and God willing, they will be eliminated in the next few days.
Malek, fighter (Man, Arabic):
In al-Ozeim dam area, the enemy had a large presence and was able to move around freely. After the battles and the victory accomplished by our brothers, the fighters from army and the Popular Crowd Units, their [ISIS’] presence decreased to about 5 to 10% [of what it was initially]. [ISIS fighters’] ability to move became minimal and limited between the areas of Sayid Salman al-Ahmad. God willing, we will eliminate them all.
November 18, 2014
Iraqi British military trainer Shaker al-Saidi instructs volunteers from the Al-Abbas Combat Division, a Shia militia that is fighting alongside the Iraqi Army. The video shows the trainee paratroopers in a training session, in Karbala, prior to their first practice jump from over 3000 feet. The Iraqi army has provided the militia with a helicopter to help in the fight against ISIS. The volunteers have been undergoing intensive training for 14 to 15 hours a day for the last 45 days.
In 1983, Shaker joined the Youth Academy for Paratroopers in Iraq. In 2000 he emigrated with his family to Britain where he continued developing these skills before becoming a trainer and a member of the British Parachute Regiment, the airborne infantry of the British Army. He also trained British forces stationed in the United Arab Emirates and many other Arabic countries.
Saleh, fighter in Al-Abbas Combat Division (man, Arabic):
(0:55-01:19) "We belong to Al-Abbas Combat Division. My fellow fighters and I fight under the flag of the religious leader and today is our first trial jump."
Interviewer: "How many meters are you going to jump?"
Saleh: "3000 feet." (1000 meters)
Shaker al-Saidi, Iraqi British trainer (man, Arabic):
(01:24-02:01) "The purpose of this training is that in the current circumstances we are experiencing the need for paratroopers who can reach areas that are difficult for field fighters or vehicles to access. We might need to use them for special targets in the night time. Those chosen paratroopers can be the beginning of the formation of a parachuting force consisting of over 100 fighters."
Maitham al-Zubaidi, commander of Al-Abbas Combat Division, (man, Arabic):
(03:15-04-11) "This is the first trained group in Al-Abbas Combat Division, trained by the international trainer Shaker al-Saedi. Al-Abbas Combat Division was formed as an answer to the call of the religious leader, and it was included in the Iraqi army and a part of the operations of al-Furat al-Awsat. The purpose of today's jump is to increase the strength and the abilities of the fighters in the group to be able to face the current and upcoming challenges."
(05:42-06-11) "The first jump in the history of "the popular forces" is taken by this hero right here, under the leadership of Al-Abbas Combat Division. History will document this. The first jump in Iraq for military purposes. The first jump and many more to come, striking the heart of the enemy."
A suicide bomb attack in Baghdad today killed 10 people and wounded 20 others, most of which are members of the Iraqi federal police. A car rigged with explosives was detonated at the gate of the federal police headquarters in al-Nussor square near a presidential palace. ISIS claimed responsibility for the assault.
This is the second major attack that has targeted the Iraqi federal police this week, after ISIS killed on Sunday the federal police commander in Mossul Brigadier General Aziz al-Zameli.
Video shows the scene of a suicide bombing in Baghdad's al-Nisour Square today. A damaged car belonging to the bomber is being prepared for towing.
A short time later a car rigged with explosives was detonated at the gate of the nearby Iraq National Police headquarters. Eleven people were killed in the attacks including six police officers. Twenty people were wounded. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
October 25, 2014 Tikrit, Iraq After heavy clashes with ISIS, Shia fighters of the Saraya al-Kharasani militia, alongside Iraqi Army soldiers, regained control over the village of Bir Ahmed, east of Tikrit. The militia fighters found a buried body of an unidentified man near a disused ISIS checkpoint.
October 27, 2014
Iraqi Shia volunteers sign up with the Assad Allah al-Ghaleb militia in Karbala. The fighters will be moving to the front line to join the fight against ISIS, in the province of Diala, north of Baghdad.
(00:37-00:58) Mohamad Jassem Zoeidi, Brigade commander (man, Arabic): "We are the leaders of (Assad Allah al-Ghaleb formation), al-Hejjah al-Montazar brigade. "We will send a regiment to the Dyala province to beat the ISIS terrorists, support our security forces, and stand in the face of any terrorist group whether it is ISIS or any other group."
(01:03-01:39) Abu Jaafar, Volunteer fighter (man, Arabic): "I advise you, you are our children and we are your family. We will help you, support you, we will not let you down and we will sacrifice ourselves for you. I advise you to respect your commanders and obey them. We are going to Dyala to help the poor families, we do not want any shameful behavior. We want to to adopt the morals of al-Hussein."
(01:43-01:49) Mahdi, Volunteer fighter (man, Arabic): "We want to avenge all the Shia and our grandfather al-Hussein, we want to avenge all the Shia."
(01:50-02:10) Kazem, Volunteer fighter (man, Arabic): "The security situation is not stable in Dyala so we all go to fight. We are willing to die and will sacrifice our souls for our Imam al-Hussein. Our message to the rest of the fighters and to the entire Iraqi population is who ever insults the religion, we will fight him and we do not care what happens."
(02:24-02:50) Abu Ali, Field Commander (man, Arabic): "Wherever we need to go to support the Iraqi army, whether in Dyala, or al-Anbar, or any other place, we will go. We are counting on our strength and personal weapons because we do not have any support, but we will be victorious."
The jihadis from the extremist group ISIS have partially withdrawn from the outskirts of Amerli, a town which they occupied, around 110 miles north of Baghdad. The breakthrough came after the United States carried out airstrikes and dropped humanitarian aid over Amerli. The video shows the aftereffects of the fighting in the town which was under the control of ISIS.
October 21, 2014
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)
October 20, 2014
Balad, Salahuddin, Iraq
Fighters from the Saraya al-Salam Shia militia, under the command of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, in cooperation with Iraqi SWAT teams, build up defenses around the Shia town of Balad in the Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad. ISIS fighters have had the town surrounded for over three months. The extremist group controls the neighboring area and is attempting to advance south towards the capital Baghdad.
The video shows the army and militia fighters firing at ISIS insurgents who are positioned just 500 meters away. The militia fighters blame the government for the lack of military and financial support in the fight against ISIS insurgents.
(Man, Arabic) Abu Fatima: (00:52) "We are constantly being attacked from those houses, Abu Jaber, Ezz Balad, and Abu Farraj. Unfortunately, whenever we ask for help from officials or the local government they do not respond. We will remain here no matter what happens, for the sake of [the Prophet’s grandchildren, Imams] al-Hassan and al-Hussein. We asked the officials to give us tanks, or provide us with a support group so we can resist ISIS."
(Man, Arabic) Abu Ali: (01:22) "To whomever might say that our city is going to fall in their [ISIS] hands, [we say that] we are here and ISIS is there. We are outside of the city; it is about 5 km away. We are here, outside the city, protecting it."
(Man, Arabic) al-Husseini: (02:00) "All of this area gets filled with people at night, so they can monitor it. It gets filled with men from the Popular Crowd committee."
(Man, Arabic) al-Husseini: (02:27) "This is a besieged city. Almost 70% of it is besieged. Only the Baghdad-Samarra road is open while ISIS controls the rest. The Popular Crowd forces control about 23km [of the road] from al-Rawashed to Ezz Balad all the way to Tel al-Zahab. This is the brigade of Sayed Mohamad; they are all heroes. Look at this hero here. He has two injuries, one in his hand and another his leg but he refuses to quit – he wants to be a martyr. This is our faith and principle in fighting the enemy."
(Man, Arabic) Abu Ammar: (03:22) "Even if both of my arms were amputated, I would fight with my legs."
(Man, Arabic) Jaafar al-Kazem: (03:29) "We need the support of the central government, we need weapons, munitions and artillery. We also need salaries for the fighters. Why has the central government neglected us while we have been fighting for the past four months?"
(Man, Arabic) Zu al-Fokar: (03:46) "We have been fighting in this area for almost three months. We are fighting like heroes but, unfortunately, nobody is watching or listening to us. We are demanding the simplest rights, the rights of soldiers who do not have anything, even though we are not fighting for money."
Abd al-Hussein Ali:
(09:08) "We are now at entrance number three. Al-Qaeda and ISIS are less than 500 meters away from us. Hopefully, in the upcoming days we will liberate entrance four and five with God's help."
(09:26) "These criminals are about 500 meters away with a sniper rifle aimed at us, but we will beat them."
Text by Youssef Zbib
Shehbaz Sindi, a Kurdish blacksmith from the Iraqi city of Dohuk, is proud to present his latest invention. It is a truck hidden under roughly wielded metal sheets that, from the first sight, evokes imagery of tanks that date from the First World War.
This is the first prototype, and having worked on it for two months, Sindi will start building the second one after he finalizes it.
“I am in the final stage now,” said Sindi, dressed in the Kurdish traditional Shalvar made of combat-green fabric. “I have to work on the front side now. We need to make the armor 10 centimeters thick in order to block the bullets.”
Sindi hopes that this yellow behemoth on wheels will help Kurdish fighters put an end to ISIS’ rapid advance in predominantly Kurdish areas.
In recent battles, the extremist militant group has proved to be better armed than Kurdish groups it has fought in Syria and Iraq, after it took over US-made weapons and armored vehicles from Iraqi government forces in June.
After ISIS expanded its control on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian borders and took over Iraq’s second city Mosul, US airplanes targeted ISIS positions and forces in Iraq. The US has also waged a similar a campaign against the group in Syria in September with the participation of allied countries.
Necessity is the mother of invention
Sindi said that the armored vehicle was needed facing the humanitarian distress that Kurds have suffered in recent events.
“We thought of this project after we saw what was happening and how people were fleeing from Sinjar,” said Sindi. “We needed to build something to defend the people and ourselves. We thought of this project out of need.”
In August, thousands of Kurds from the Yezidi religious minority fled their villages in the Shingal area and took refuge on the holy mount of Sinjar as ISIS fighters advanced. Yezidi refugees were stranded there with little food and water supplies for days before US airstrikes broke the siege that ISIS imposed. They were later evacuated into predominantly Kurdish areas in northeastern Syria.
The Kurdish city of Kobani in Syria’s north is currently living a similar crisis. More than a hundred thousand people are believed to have left the city and crossed the border into Turkey as ISIS closed in on the city. Airstrikes conducted by the international coalition seem to have slowed ISIS’ advance but are yet to put an end to it.
Refugees in the Suruc camp on the Turkish side of the border gave harrowing testimonies about the atrocities that ISIS committed in Kobani. According to a report published in the British newspaper The Daily Mail, ISIS militants committed beheadings and mutilation on a very large scale.
But despite this grim reality, Sindi is hopeful that his military invention will push ISIS fighters out of the predominantly Kurdish areas in Iraq and Syria.
“With the help of God, we will use this tank to fight the people who dared to cross the border into Kurdistan,” he said. “I am proud to be the first Kurdish man to ever build a tank. My area and all of Kurdistan is very proud of this invention.”
The armored vehicle, which Sindi calls a “tank,” can carry six fighters, three seated on each side. It can also be equipped with a Russian-made DShK large-caliber machine gun, widely known as Dushka.
Kurdish fighters have not used the makeshift armored vehicle yet. It still has to prove its efficiency in the battlefield, even though Sindi has a lot of faith in his work.
“Concerning mobility… we have tested it and drove it to the highway. It works perfectly,” Sindi said. “Concerning resistance, as you can see here, we have three layers of iron, so when the bullet hits the exterior layer it will not affect the second layer.”
In addition to pushing ISIS fighters out of Kurdish areas, Sindi wants to use his invention to show the world what Kurds can achieve.
“We want to make the country of Kurdistan proud by showing that Kurdish people here can manufacture [weapons],” he said. “And for the people who do not like Kurdistan or Kurdish people, they need to understand that Kurdish people are smart… and are able to build any object they want.”
October 13, 2014
Lalish temple, Shekhan District, East Dohuk, Iraq
This year, because of ISIS attacks, the Yazidis chose not to celebrate their most important religious holiday, the Jama Eid. Usually Yazidis from all over the world travel to the holy temple of Lalish in Iraq, for the seven-day ceremony, concluded by a festival in which they sacrifice a bull in accordance with their ancient rituals.
This year the festival did not take place, out of respect for the Yazidi victims in Sinjar. A few pilgrims visited the temple for prayer but the number was far lower than usual.
The Jama Eid is the longest amongst the Yazidi holidays and lasts for seven nights. It starts on October 6 and ends on October 14.
1) Khodr Sleiman, Yazidi writer and religious figure.
2) Nasr Hadji, Yazidi cleric.
3) Ibrahim, Yazidi pilgrim.
4) Nasser, Syrian Yazidi pilgrim.
5) Saiid Jardo, Yazidi writer and religious figure.
6) Ismael, Yazidi pilgrim.
This collection of pictures shows the Kurdish Peshmerga forces' readiness to combat ISIS forces. The capture of Mosul by ISIS was a political game-changer in Iraq. Initially, ISIS’ strategy seemed to consist of taking control of Iraq's Sunni regions and scourge and oppress the Shia population. Kurds optimistically believed that this was solely a conflict between ISIS and the Shias and so adopted a defensive strategy across their region. However, due to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s anti-Sunni policies and the dissatisfaction of the Iraqi Army, ISIS quickly expanded its control, taking over vast territories in northern Iraq and the Kurdistan area. ISIS took over the Kurdish Yazidi town of Shangal, forcing the Peshmerga to retreat. Yazidis escaped to the nearby mount Sinjar, which they consider a holy site, but were surrounded by ISIS militants. It was at this point that the Syrian People's Defense Forces (YPG) militias and the Peshmerga launched an effective attack against that was aided by US airstrikes. These forces managed to drive the militants back, securing a safe passage for tens of thousands of Yazidis.
Despite these efforts, ISIS continued to threaten more Kurdish territories, taking control over Makhmour and putting Iraqi Kurdistan's capital Erbil at risk. The PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) and US Air Force launched another attack, forcing ISIS to retreat from many Kurdish areas, including Makhmour. It became obvious that ISIS was not only targeting the Iraqi Shias but also posed a large threat to Iraqi and Syrian Kurds. Therefore a new tactical coalition between these parties became vital. Iraqi Kurdistan became seriously involved in a war which, two months earlier, was not likely. In some respects it has benefitted Kurds, allowing them to extend the borders of their autonomous region and claim control over the disputed city of Kirkuk. On the other hand, ISIS' quest to impose an Islamic state could spell great danger for the Kurds and the region as a whole.
October 1, 2014
After 5 months of ISIS rule, Mosul's economy is experiencing a severe decline in food and construction revenues. The local sellers say that prices in Mosul have risen sharply due to the closure of roads to Kurdistan and Baghdad, and the heavy clashes between ISIS and Peshmerga fighters.
(01:21) Contributor: Can you tell me what's the situation of the goods in the market? Are they available in the stores ? (01:32).
(01:32) Shop owner: We have a severe shortage when it comes to food supplies. We received supplies 4 days ago but in small quantities (01:42).
(01:43) Contributor: Where did you get them from ? (01:45).
(01:45) Shop owner: From Kirkuk, it's the only access to here, whereas the roads to other parts of Iraq are blocked (01:55).
(01:58) Shop owner: The only goods we are getting are Turkish. The Jordanian and Saudi goods usually arrive to Baghdad, and we have no access to there. We get them from Kirkuk although the distance is long and transportation is costly, which makes the products expensive. Plus, the sectarian conflicts between Sunni and Shia play its role, the supplies pass from Baghdad to Kirkuk, and then the situation changes (02:43).
(03:36) Contributor: Can you tell me what's the situation concerning the construction materials? (03:45).
(03:46) Construction worker: We have a shortage in the material, the factory responsible for supplying us with concrete is out of business now since there's no electricity, the roads to the factories where we get our sand from are blocked, because they're situated in the way to Erbil. The workflow is slow now due to security reasons and the lack of money for salaries. The people here are confused, they have no idea what will happen to them (04:23).
(04:29) Construction worker: The demand for construction is very low (04:36).
September 30, 2014
A car bomb exploded at 7 AM in the southern Baghdad suburb of Zaafaraniya, in front of Al Maaoun restaurant. The number of deaths rose to 50.
September 29, 2014
The Iraqi government has stepped up security measures in the capital Baghdad as a response to reports that the group that calls itself the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is approaching. The militant group has vowed to march on the city after occupying several key towns, including Iraq's second city, Mosul. Tens of thousands of volunteers have answered the call to join security forces and push back Islamic State militants. Recruiting volunteers is part of what officials have described as a new strategy to protect Baghdad and its surroundings.