The northern Iraqi town of Rabia, right on the country's border with Syria, has been the scene of intense to-and-fro fighting between Iraqi Kurdish troops and the extremist group known as the Islamic State. Most recently Iraqi Kurdish military say they have recaptured the town. NIQASH toured the battlefield, what's left of the town and the new frontline.
It was dark when Peshmerga forces pounded on Raza’s door in the middle of the night and told her husband that they had to flee because ISIS was overtaking the city.
It was dark when they woke their daughters and ran from their home. It was dark when they continued to run from town, on uneven roads. For Raza, it remained dark while they walked for a day and a half, then rode in a truck for one day further. And when they finally reached a safe place to stay, Raza’s family had to tell her they had arrived.
Hundreds of thousands of women, children, and elderly have been forced from their homes. With winter coming, they need your help.
[Editor's note: after receiving new information, this post has been updated to more accurately reflect the ethnic and religious identity of Majid and his family. We apologize for any confusion!]
You've made some amazing days possible here in Iraq, but the day we met Majid ranks among the best.
Majid is a part of a tiny religious minority known as the Kakais (or Yarsani), a secretive religious sect scattered across the region. Ethnically, they are Kurdish. Apart from a few scholarly articles here and there, the Kakais are a tough group to learn about—even after extensive Googling!
Shiite militias are making inroads into the mainly Sunni province of Anbar. Previously Anbar's Sunni tribes have not allowed the controversial militia groups in but now one tribe has invited them to help. Things are becoming ever more complex in Anbar and the arrival of US troops, who, it seems, will be staying at the same base as the Iran-sponsored militias, are complicating things further.