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Ancient Armenia architecture in Turkey
Unnamed Road, 65700 Akdamar/Gevaş/Van,Turkey
By David Grigoryan
19 Oct 2016

Armenian church of Holy Cross on Agtamar island. The church is under UNESCO protection since 2007.

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Ancient Armenian architecture in Tu...
Van
By David Grigoryan
19 Oct 2016

Parts from Varagavnk monastery. Often used like a storage.

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Ancient Armenia architecture in Turkey
Agdamar
By David Grigoryan
18 Oct 2016

Armenian church of Holy Cross on Agtamar island. The church is under UNESCO protection since 2007.
Muslim woman are posing in fornt of the altar.

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Ancient Armenia architecture in Turkey
Van
By David Grigoryan
18 Oct 2016

Parts from Varagavnk monastery. Often used as storage

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Triple Suicide Bombing Aftermath in T...
716, Tall Tamr,Syria
By yekru
11 Dec 2015

Footage shows the destruction left behind after three suicide bombings claimed by ISIS struck the Syrian town of Tel Tamer, in the country's northeastern Hasaka province on December 10, 2015. The bombings killed more than fifty people and wounded dozens more.

The attacks targeted key infrastructure and strategic checkpoints controlled by Kurdish forces in the area.

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

March 30, 2015

Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan



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

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The Christian Militia Fighting ISIS i...
Unnamed Road, Bakufa,Iraq
By Nils Metzger
23 Mar 2015

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.

BACKGROUND:

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.

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Interview: US Citizen Provides Iraqi ...
Dohuk, Iraq
By Nils Metzger
22 Mar 2015

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’).

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Interview: Yousif Thomas Mirkis, Chal...
Sulaimaniya, Iraq
By Nils Metzger
20 Mar 2015

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.

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Interview: Emanuel Youkhana, Head of ...
Erbil, Iraq
By Nils Metzger
18 Mar 2015

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.

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Christian Refugees in Erbil, Iraq 1080p
Erbil, Iraq
By Nils Metzger
18 Mar 2015

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.

Background:

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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American Fighting With YPG Forces in ...
Ra's al 'Ayn, Syria
By Andrew Nunn
26 Jan 2015

An interview with American citizen and US military veteran Richard Jones about fighting with the YPG in Rojava, Syrian Kurdistan. He explains his life there and his dreams of home and why he choose to travel to Syria and fight for the Lions of Rojava.

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

January 11, 2015
Gwer, Iraqi-Kurdistan

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

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

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

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German Citizen YPG Fighter Interview ...
YPG Base in Ras Al Ayn
By Andrew Nunn
29 Dec 2014

40 minutes of raw footage, B-roll and, interview of westerner from Germany fighting with YPG "Lions"

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Abbas Hussein al Assi - ISIS Prisoner
Til Kocer
By Andrea Milluzzi
11 Dec 2014

Abbas Hussein is an Isis fighter. He is 25 years old and he comes from Syria. He is a former member of the Free Syrian army and she fought with Isis for almost one year. Ypg captured it while he was preparing a suicide attack.

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Yazidis Refrain from Celebrating Reli...
Dohuk
By rsoufi
13 Oct 2014

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.

Interviewees:

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 18, 2014
Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan

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

SOUNDBITE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yazidis Take Refuge in Kurdish Contro...
Jezaa, Syria
By TTM Contributor 25
21 Aug 2014

August 11, 12, 13, 2014
Jezaa, Syria

Iraqi-Yazidi refugees from Sinjar arrive in Kurdish controlled areas of Syria after escaping the Sinjar mountains. Syrian-Kurdish forces secured a 90km passage to allow approximately 100,000 Yazidis escape the SInjar mountain range and take refuge in the Kurdish areas in Syria.

Speakers: (In Kurdish language)

Sound bite 1: Kleizar Hussein/Refugee: "We are starving and dehydrated, there is no milk for the children. Nobody came to rescue us and nobody is supporting us, we are homeless".

Sound bite 2: Saeed Qawad/Refugee: "At 5 o'clock they started their attack against us. They told us there were 6000 fighters from the Peshmerga, but we did not see any of them. The attack continued until the morning, when the peshmerga withdrew and left us alone. They [ISIS] kidnapped thousands of our women and slaughtered thousands.

We could not even bury the dead bodies lying on the ground.

We do not care about Iraq or the oil in Iraq. We do not want Kurdistan either, all we want is America. We are a minority, they should have us moved somewhere else far away from Muslims. We are not a nation, we do not kill people, we do not have any profession. They slaughtered thousands with a knife, what religion and what prophet would accept that? There are nearly 3000 corpses left on the ground in the Sinjar area, and hundreds of children dead from dehydration".

Sound bite 3: Sido Ali/Refugee: "We are all refugees, and poor. We have no food or water, or even a place to sleep in. They should provide us with our needs".

Sound bite 4: Khedr Khedr/Refugee: "When an ISIS member recognized me, he covered his face immediately and told the other to not take my car. We grew up together and that is why they did not take me, but still they killed two uncles of mine, Sido and Juko. They caught them while they were returning home, placed them on the sidewalk and killed them. It was very painful for me to see that, there are thousands of victims, I swear."

Shot list:

Shots of Sinjar refugees as they speak.

Shots of the passage they walk in.

Shots of the transportation units that arrived from the Syrian-Kurdish area to take the Yazidis from the mountain.

Shots of receiving the refugees in the Syrian area of Jezaa.

Shots of the refugees as they wait to be transferred into a safe area.

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A Day in the Life of a Peshmerga Fema...
Sulaymaniah
By Stefano Carini
03 Aug 2014

July 2014

"When I was young it was one of my dreams to be a Peshmerga. Many of the men in my family were Peshmerga with the PUK party. They were fighting against the regime of Saddam Hussein for a free Kurdistan and many of them died this way.”

Paxshan Omer, 37 year old, is a Kurdish Peshmerga from Sulaimaniyah. She married when she was 18 years old and has two sons. Her husband died 12 years old, and she has been taking care of her kids ever since.

Paxshan decided to join the Peshmerga in 2003, with the American invasion and the implementation of the “Anti terror war”. She is one of 500 female Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. The regiment, which was founded in 1996, is now ready to go to the frontline to defend the country.

“I know it is hard work and the day I decided to be a Peshmerga I told myself that maybe one day I might get injured or even die and I could not live with my family again. But only God can give you death or life, and so I am at peace.”

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

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

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

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Iranian Soccer Fever
By Nicola Zolin
18 Jun 2014

February-April, 2014
Iran

While Iran usually known for nuclear politics and religious radicalism, it is also known for soccer. Iran is ranked as the best team in Asia and is participating in this year's World Cup in Brazil. For country as culturally and socially diverse as Iran, soccer is unifying force and the passion for the sport permeates every corner of society.

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

June 12, 2014
Gop Jalil, Mosul, Iraq

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