[Published here October 5, 2017]
Raqa (Syria) (AFP) – “Don’t close your eyes. Stay awake!” the anti-jihadist Syrian fighter yelled at his injured comrade as a Humvee whisked them across the Islamic State group’s former stronghold Raqa. Continue reading
[Published here October 2, 2017]
RAQA (SYRIA) (AFP) – US-backed fighters on Monday combed through a central district of Syria’s Raqa that once housed key Islamic State group command centres, recovering communication equipment and weapons used by the jihadists.
[Published here October 1, 2017]
Raqa (Syria) (AFP) – US-backed fighters were tightening the noose on Sunday around Islamic State group jihadists holed up in Raqa’s national hospital, one of the last IS-held positions in the Syrian city.
[Published here on September 30, 2017]
Just after sunrise outside Syria’s Raqa, dozens of Islamic State group jihadists donned Kurdish military uniforms, piled into cars with weapons, and broke back into a district they lost control of months ago.
[Published here on November 11, 2016]
Shaqouli (Iraq) (AFP) – Iraqi Kurdish fighters are building a berm in the desert near Mosul that could demarcate a boundary of the state they hope to establish after the Islamic State group is defeated.
[Published here on November 9, 2016]
Iraqi Kurdish forces came under heavy fire from a salmon-coloured house on the edge of the Islamic State group-held town of Bashiqa, but when they stormed it, it was empty.
[Published here on November 9, 2016]
Bashiqa (Iraq) (AFP) – Iraqi Kurdish forces have seized the town of Bashiqa near Mosul from the Islamic State group, an official said Tuesday, as US-backed militia forces advanced on the jihadists’ Syrian stronghold Raqa.
[Published here on November 3, 2014]
In recent years, a hard earned record for security and stability had gained the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq a reputation as a booming business center. Headlines splashed across magazines and newspapers comparing the growth of Erbil, the Kurdish region’s capital, to Dubai’s meteoric expansion. However, the summer of 2014 challenged that idea as a new phase of turbulence gripped the whole country. The onslaught of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, who have taken control of large swathes of the country and carved a bloody path towards Erbil and Baghdad, was a stark reminder to all that Kurdistan is not immune to trouble in the neighborhood. But like the glittering hyperbole surrounding the rise of Erbil, the doom and gloom painted since the rise of ISIS may also be overstated. The situation is far from stable, but investors, analysts and business people focusing on the area say it won’t push them out, and it certainly won’t derail Kurdish development.
From left to right: Jilan, 16, and Iman, 17, who live in the Domiz refugee camp. Image by James Haines-Young
[Published here August 4, 2014]
Since the beginning of the conflict more than three years ago, Syria’s death toll sits horrifyingly somewhere over 120,000. But the real number of destroyed lives is much higher: Three million refugees, scattered throughout the region, escaped the war alive. Though they survived, their homes have been demolished, their memories faded, and their dreams rendered impossible. Painstakingly, some women who turned into widows or single parents have tried to reassemble their lives, readjusting hopes and goals to fit a harsh new reality. Here is one story of a women-led household—a rare occurrence in the Middle East—inside the Domiz refugee camp in Iraq.
[Published here on May 13, 2014]
Abdul Samih, his wife Fidan, and his five children live in a small, shabby apartment in the St. Simon neighborhood of southwest Beirut. To reach his tiny home, he weaves through narrow alleyways of Hezbollah flags, martyrdom posters, and burly Lebanese men looking on suspiciously at him. Not only is Abdul Samih a Syrian refugee, but he is ethnically Kurdish – making him double the outsider for many Lebanese.