Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL
International Photography Grant 2019

In late-November 2014 Moises Saman returned to Iraq to photograph the ongoing Kurdish fight against ISIL. In late-2013 ISIL forces made serious gains in Iraq thus enlarging the conflict that had previously been isolated to Syria. The Iraqi military had reeled in the face of IS attacks while Kurdish forces in the north soon proved to be a serious threat to the enemy advance. In late-2014 Kurdish forces achieved regular success against the IS, threatening their foothold in Iraq.

IRAQ. Dokuk, Kirkuk Province. December 3, 2014. Kurdish Peshmerga fighters drive through an Arab village recently captured from the Islamic State near the front line about 30Km south of the city of Kirkuk.

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL- IRAQ. Dokuk, Kirkuk Province. December 3, 2014. Kurdish Peshmerga fighters drive through an Arab village recently captured from the Islamic State near the front line about 30Km south of the city of Kirkuk.

IRAQ. Dokuk, Kirkuk Province. December 3, 2014. A Kurdish peshmerga fighter mands a defensive position along the frontline against the Islamic State in the farmlands on the outskirts of Dokuk, a town about 30Km south of the city of Kirkuk.

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL- IRAQ. Dokuk, Kirkuk Province. December 3, 2014. A Kurdish peshmerga fighter mands a defensive position along the frontline against the Islamic State in the farmlands on the outskirts of Dokuk, a town about 30Km south of the city of Kirkuk.

IRAQ. Makhmour. November 27, 2014. Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga at their base on a hill overlooking Makhmour, a town the Kurds recently recaptured from the Islamic State.

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL- IRAQ. Makhmour. November 27, 2014. Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga at their base on a hill overlooking Makhmour, a town the Kurds recently recaptured from the Islamic State.

IRAQ. Makhmour. November 27, 2014. Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga commanders visiting the frontline on the outskirts of Makhmour, a town the Kurds recently recaptured from the Islamic State.

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL- IRAQ. Makhmour. November 27, 2014. Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga commanders visiting the frontline on the outskirts of Makhmour, a town the Kurds recently recaptured from the Islamic State.

IRAQ. Dokuk. December 3, 2014. A Kurdish PKK fighter aims his rifle toward an Islamic State (IS) position during sporadic clashes in the front line near the village of Dokuk, about 35Km south to Kirkuk.

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL- IRAQ. Dokuk. December 3, 2014. A Kurdish PKK fighter aims his rifle toward an Islamic State (IS) position during sporadic clashes in the front line near the village of Dokuk, about 35Km south to Kirkuk.

IRAQ. Khazer.December 4, 2014. A Kurdish peshmerga fighter stands atop the rubble of the Khazer bridge, destroyed by the Islamic State in September of 2014. The destruction of the bridge, located along the main road from Mosul to Erbil, has now cut off the road for civilians to Mosul and nearby Christian villages.

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL- IRAQ. Khazer.December 4, 2014. A Kurdish peshmerga fighter stands atop the rubble of the Khazer bridge, destroyed by the Islamic State in September of 2014. The destruction of the bridge, located along the main road from Mosul to Erbil, has now cut off the road for civilians to Mosul and nearby Christian villages.

IRAQ. Khazer. December 4, 2014. Kurdish fishermen stand on the rubble of the Khazer bridge, destroyed by the Islamic State in September of 2014. The destruction of the bridge, located along the main road from Mosul to Erbil, has now cut off the road for civilians to Mosul and nearby Christian villages.

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL- IRAQ. Khazer. December 4, 2014. Kurdish fishermen stand on the rubble of the Khazer bridge, destroyed by the Islamic State in September of 2014. The destruction of the bridge, located along the main road from Mosul to Erbil, has now cut off the road for civilians to Mosul and nearby Christian villages.

IRAQ. Khazer. December 4, 2014. Kurdish fishermen stand on the rubble of the Khazer bridge, destroyed by the Islamic State in September of 2014. The destruction of the bridge, located along the main road from Mosul to Erbil, has now cut off the road for civilians to Mosul and nearby Christian villages.

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL- IRAQ. Khazer. December 4, 2014. Kurdish fishermen stand on the rubble of the Khazer bridge, destroyed by the Islamic State in September of 2014. The destruction of the bridge, located along the main road from Mosul to Erbil, has now cut off the road for civilians to Mosul and nearby Christian villages.

IRAQ. Kurdistan. December 4, 2014. 12-year-old Salah Sleman, a Kurdish boy from the Kurdish-Syrian town of Kobani, now lives at a camp i Arbad for displaced families on the outskirts of Suleimaniyah.

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL- IRAQ. Kurdistan. December 4, 2014. 12-year-old Salah Sleman, a Kurdish boy from the Kurdish-Syrian town of Kobani, now lives at a camp i Arbad for displaced families on the outskirts of Suleimaniyah.

IRAQ. Kurdistan. November 28, 2014. Yazidi men displaced from Sinjar by the advance of the Islamic State, living in the mountain village of Lalesh, in Iraq's Nineveh Province. Lalesh is the site of the sacred tomb of Sheikh Adi in Musafir, the main figure in the Yazidi faith.

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL- IRAQ. Kurdistan. November 28, 2014. Yazidi men displaced from Sinjar by the advance of the Islamic State, living in the mountain village of Lalesh, in Iraq’s Nineveh Province. Lalesh is the site of the sacred tomb of Sheikh Adi in Musafir, the main figure in the Yazidi faith.

IRAQ. Kurdistan. December 1, 2014. A monument erected in honor of fallen PKK fighters overlooks the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan. In the 1990s, during some of the deadliest years of the PKK-Turkey conflict, the PKK set up bases across the rugged Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan,near the border of Iran. Since then, Turkey has periodically carried out air strikes in Qandil, aiming to hit the thousands of fighters who train and live in the moutain. But the PKK fighters in Qandil operate in various pockets of the mountain, and often live in caves, making it near impossible for Turkish jets to precisely target them. On several occasions, Turkish jets accidentally hit Iraqi Kurdish villagers living in the area instead. This prompted tensions between the the regional Iraqi Kurdish government and Turkey. In recent years, Turkey and the PKK have embarked on a fragile peace process, which has spared Qandil some of the heavy shelling of earlier years. But events in Syria and Iraq this past summer, in particular Turkish sensitivities to the PKK's increasingly prominent role in fighting the Islamic State and PKK allegations that Turkey was at times conspiring with IS to bring about the fall of Kobani, have strained the peace process. If the process collapses, the relative calm in Qandil may break as well.

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL- IRAQ. Kurdistan. December 1, 2014. A monument erected in honor of fallen PKK fighters overlooks the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan. In the 1990s, during some of the deadliest years of the PKK-Turkey conflict, the PKK set up bases across the rugged Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan,near the border of Iran. Since then, Turkey has periodically carried out air strikes in Qandil, aiming to hit the thousands of fighters who train and live in the moutain. But the PKK fighters in Qandil operate in various pockets of the mountain, and often live in caves, making it near impossible for Turkish jets to precisely target them. On several occasions, Turkish jets accidentally hit Iraqi Kurdish villagers living in the area instead. This prompted tensions between the the regional Iraqi Kurdish government and Turkey. In recent years, Turkey and the PKK have embarked on a fragile peace process, which has spared Qandil some of the heavy shelling of earlier years. But events in Syria and Iraq this past summer, in particular Turkish sensitivities to the PKK’s increasingly prominent role in fighting the Islamic State and PKK allegations that Turkey was at times conspiring with IS to bring about the fall of Kobani, have strained the peace process. If the process collapses, the relative calm in Qandil may break as well.

IRAQ. Kurdistan. December 1, 2014. A monument erected in honor of fallen PKK fighters overlooks the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan. In the 1990s, during some of the deadliest years of the PKK-Turkey conflict, the PKK set up bases across the rugged Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan, near the border of Iran. Since then, Turkey has periodically carried out air strikes in Qandil, aiming to hit the thousands of fighters who train and live in the moutain. But the PKK fighters in Qandil operate in various pockets of the mountain, and often live in caves, making it near impossible for Turkish jets to precisely target them. On several occasions, Turkish jets accidentally hit Iraqi Kurdish villagers living in the area instead. This prompted tensions between the the regional Iraqi Kurdish government and Turkey. In recent years, Turkey and the PKK have embarked on a fragile peace process, which has spared Qandil some of the heavy shelling of earlier years. But events in Syria and Iraq this past summer, in particular Turkish sensitivities to the PKK's increasingly prominent role in fighting the Islamic State and PKK allegations that Turkey was at times conspiring with IS to bring about the fall of Kobani, have strained the peace process. If the process collapses, the relative calm in Qandil may break as well.

Moises Saman: Kurdish Fight Against ISIL- IRAQ. Kurdistan. December 1, 2014. A monument erected in honor of fallen PKK fighters overlooks the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan. In the 1990s, during some of the deadliest years of the PKK-Turkey conflict, the PKK set up bases across the rugged Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan, near the border of Iran. Since then, Turkey has periodically carried out air strikes in Qandil, aiming to hit the thousands of fighters who train and live in the moutain. But the PKK fighters in Qandil operate in various pockets of the mountain, and often live in caves, making it near impossible for Turkish jets to precisely target them. On several occasions, Turkish jets accidentally hit Iraqi Kurdish villagers living in the area instead. This prompted tensions between the the regional Iraqi Kurdish government and Turkey. In recent years, Turkey and the PKK have embarked on a fragile peace process, which has spared Qandil some of the heavy shelling of earlier years. But events in Syria and Iraq this past summer, in particular Turkish sensitivities to the PKK’s increasingly prominent role in fighting the Islamic State and PKK allegations that Turkey was at times conspiring with IS to bring about the fall of Kobani, have strained the peace process. If the process collapses, the relative calm in Qandil may break as well.

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International Photography Grant 2019