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Libyan Fighters Come Face to Face wit...
Benghazi, Libya
By TTM albattat
28 Feb 2016

February 28, 2016
Benghazi, Libya

Fighters of the Zawiya Martyrs Battalion, backed by the Libyan Army and other militias loyal to General Khalifa Haftar, clash with ISIS fighters in the Assabiri area in western Benghazi. It is one of the last areas in Benghazi where ISIS fighters still have positions.

The Libyan Army led by Haftar and loyal militias were able to retake control over vast areas of Benghazi and drive ISIS fighters to leave the positions.

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Libyan Army Chief of Staff Visits Fro...
Benghazi, Libya
By TTM albattat
26 Feb 2016

Chief of General Staff, Major General Abdel Razek Nazawra visited Mazraat Abu Bakr Youness in the city of Benghazi to check on the situation and on the Libyan Army's advances in the fight against ISIS.

During his visit Nazawra met the leaders of the army divisions and the soldiers and transferred the salutes of the Army commander General Khalifa Haftar to them.

The Libyan Army led by Haftar was able to retake major areas in Benghazi and force ISIS fighters to leave their positions.

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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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Peshmerga IED Disposal Units at War w...
Kirkuk
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
05 Feb 2015

According to Kurdish government and Peshmerga officials, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines planted by Islamic State militants are the biggest cause of death for Peshmerga forces. ISIS has adopted the tactic of heavily seeding all of the territory it withdraws from with the 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 Kurdish military engineer team specialized in dismantling the devices, and speak to a farmer who is affected by IEDs. Mining NGO MAG also weighs in on the issue, as does the mayor of the Kurdish city of Makhmour, whose community is still dealing with getting rid of massive amounts of IEDs ISIS left in August.

Story can be extended with interviews of experts on mine dismantling and victims of the explosive devices.

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Coalition Military Advisors Training ...
Shekh Omer, Erbil, Iraq
By Osie Greenway
02 Feb 2015

Coalition troops from Holland, England, Germany, and America, Have devoted four weeks for training a specialized platoon of Peshmerga fighters. They were trained in close combat urban situations and offense tacticts to combat ISIS. They were updated in combat medical procedures and how to get their wounded off the battlefield immediatly to be treated. The photos consist of both the urban warfare training and live fire field exercises also the final graduation where the soldiers get a certificate from Coalition officers for there participation. The moral of the peshmerga during training was very high and the recruits were very proactive and responsive to the Coalition trainers. The bond was obvious between the Advisors and the recruits. There was a high level of respect shown to the trainers throughout the training and after their graduation from the four week course. 

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Coalition Peshmerga Training: Graduat...
outside of Erbil in a discreet area
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
31 Jan 2015

On January 28th 2015 the first group of Peshmerga trained by the Dutch military forces finished their course. After a four week training the commander of the Dutch allied forces gives a speech to 40 recrutes that have finished their training and are now ready to fight with the Peshmerga to defend Kurdistan against the Islamic State.

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Coalition Peshmerga Training: Intervi...
PEshmerga Barracks
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
31 Jan 2015

An interview conducted on January 28th 2015, with Bakhtiar, a Dutch speaking Kurdish military recrute trained by the Dutch coalition forces.

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Frontline Battle for Mullah Abdullah ...
Kirkuk
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
31 Jan 2015

Responding to an incursion by Islamic State fighters on the southern outskirts of Kirkuk on Jan. 30, Saturday Peshmerga PUK fighters went on the offensive, launching an attack on the ISIS-held village of Mula Abdulla just five kilometers south of Maktab Khaled.

Supported by anti-ISIS coalition airstrikes from A-10 and F-16 aircraft, approximately 600 Peshmerga fighters used tanks, RPGs, and small arms to assault what they estimated to be 250 ISIS fighters holed up in the village. ISIS responded with mortars and small arms, and as of dusk, the battle for Mula Abdulla was still at a standstill. However, ISIS return fire greatly diminished after several passes by an A-10, which struck their mortar positions to the cheers of Peshmerga fighters taking cover behind a berm just 30 feet away.

An improvised explosive device struck at least one Peshmerga vehicle; the Kurds warned that many of the devices in the immediate area—held by ISIS just days before—could pose a threat to Kurdish operations. Peshmerga authorities conducted controlled detonations of some the devices they found, as well as buried with a bulldozer the corpses of ISIS fighters killed the day before.

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Coalition Peshmerga Training: Close C...
Outside of Erbil city in a discrete location
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
31 Jan 2015

Peshmarga training excercise in urban warfare, led by a coalition of Dutch, English, German and American forces.

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Coalition Peshmerga Training: Intervi...
Erbil
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
31 Jan 2015

Interviews with three recruites who were trained by coalition forces. Interviews conducted on 28 January 2015, after the military graduation ceremony.

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Rough Cut: Peshmerga Recruit Bakhtiar...
kirkuk front lines outskirts of Mula Abdul
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
27 Jan 2015

A day after going through coalition training and graduation, Bakhtiar goes to the frontlines to fight in the battle for Kirkuk. We follow him and get a closer look into his life as a Peshmerga soldier recently trained by Coalition advisors.

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'Islamic State' Releases Yazidi Priso...
Sheikhan, Iraq
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
19 Jan 2015

January 19, 2015
Sheikhan, Iraq

On Saturday, January 17, the Islamic State group released 150-200 Yazidis they had previously held captive for four months. Most of the captives were elderly and sick. They were transported Sunday from Kirkuk by the Kurdish Government (KRG) to Lalesh (Sheikhan) and arrived there Monday morning. In Lalesh they were dropped off at a Yazidi church, from there the released Yazidis were transported to refugee camps in the area surrounding Erbil or if they have family in the area they were brought home. We interviewed a family waiting to be picked up by relatives at Lalesh church about their time with ISIS and the treatment they received.

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"This Bullet is for Me": Fighting to ...
Bardarash, Iraqi Kurdistan
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
15 Jan 2015

January 15-17, 2015
Iraqi-Kurdistan

As IS continues its campaign of beheading and torture of its opponents and captives, many Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have made an oath never to be captured alive by IS forces. Some fighters now keep a suicide bullet for themselves to be used if they are about to be captured. This story explores the issue of suicide on the Kurdish frontlines of the battle against IS.

While suicide is strictly forbidden in both Islam and Christianity, many Kurdish fighters feel it is better to take one's own life than be subject to what they fear would be a brutal, merciless captivity and death at the hands of IS. Those interviewed say that the perceived brutality of IS obliges them to reconsider traditional attitudes to suicide.

Interviewees include two peshmerga fighters who both had their own close brushes with death whilst fighting IS. The first one is a hunter experienced in killing wolves and small game who brags that killing ISIS fighters is easier than shooting rabbits. The second one was wounded in battle with IS and is now recovering at home. His father is also interviewed and explains that he always tells his son to fight to the death against IS. Both fighters finish their interviews by explaining why suicide is preferable to capture.

Next, an imam explains the Koranic rules on suicide. Suicide is forbidden in Islam, but God might be more lenient on those who kill themselves in battle.

Finally we interview two fighters on the frontline.

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Coalition Peshmerga Training: Field E...
Erbil
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
05 Jan 2015

On 28 January 2015 the Dutch, German and English coalition forces trained Peshmerga on tactical and shooting manoeuvres.