This unit in the 10th Brigade of the Peshmerga is ordered to protect a bridge from threats of ISIS blowing it up. The bridge is the only link for over 16 villages including the city of Mosul to Kirkuk, Iraq and would be a major strategic victory if destroyed for ISIS militants. The days in July are some of the hottest in Iraq and when the fighters have a break they jump in for a swim while those on guard watch in agony. I had to join them for a swim in the Tigris river.
Iraqi IDPs wait in the scorching mid day sun to be registered by the Kurdish authority to either enter the city of Erbil or stay at the transitional camp located at the check point that is currently home to 500 Iraqi families.
Peshmerga snipers set up in an unfinished apartment building as fighting breaks out after mortars were fired from ISIS positions destroying a Peshmerga vehicle and pinning down Kurdish fighters. Here they are covering Kurdish soldiers guiding Iraqi civilians caught between the fighting to safety incase of a counterattack from ISIS positions from inside the city of Mosul, Iraq.
Kurdish Peshmerga forces on the outskirts of Mosul watch as a mortar fired by ISIS hits one of their vehicles they immediately rush in to reinforce the area. Their were no casualties reported. The Kurdish security forces are battling ISIS daily in Mosul and surrounding cities.
Iraqis from Mosul and the surrounding areas flee from heavy fighting to the first checkpoint of the Kurdish security forces to seek safety in Erbil or register for the transitional camp that now is home to over 500 Iraqi IDP families.
Kurdish security forces reinforce checkpoints due to the heavy influx of Iraqi displaced from cities like Mosul that have been attacked by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters. This is the last Kurdish checkpoint between Erbil and Mosul where over 500 Iraqi families now live in a hastily erected camp by Kurdish Charities.
A Syrian refugee rest on her window sill in her one room shelter, she is living with hundreds of other Syrian refugee families mostly from Hama in an unfinished eight story Lebanese college turned makeshift shelter in Saida, Lebanon. The construction is ongoing to finish the college and the contractor hopes it will eventually open for Lebanese students.
The Jemaa El-Fna night market in Marrakech, Morrocco is the countries largest and oldest souk and is located in the middle of Djemaa el-Fna square. The food court is filled with traditional cuisine over 100 different vendors shouting at all who walk by to stay and enjoy their cooking. Most vendors sell tagines, cous cous, brouchettes, fish and salads, there are some selling delicacies and fresh juices. The souk has a hectic atmosphere filled with street dancers including monkeys and groups of musicians and actors performing for a small fee.
In the heart of the Chouf in Lebanon, deep in a valley, there is a private zoo that was previously full of exotic animals – lions, tigers, flamingoes, a chimpanzee, even a cheetah. But with the collaboration of French veterinarian Jean Christophe Gerard, the sanctuary he works at, Tonga Terre D’Accueil, and Lebanese organization Animals Lebanon, this zoo has slowly been emptied of some of those animals.
This was a journey that has been long in the making though. The first time Garard came to the zoo for these particular animals was in October 2013, to do tests on the cats and insert microchips. There were four cats then – two lions and two tigers. About three weeks after the October visit, Animals Lebanon was notified that the male lion had died, and was soon after sent to a taxidermist to be stuffed.
With the voluntary cooperation of the zoo owner, a lioness, a tigress and a male tiger were removed, put in internationally-approved crates, and driven out of the valley, to the Beirut’s Hariri Airport to make the long trip to the sanctuary Saint Martin La Plain, in the south of France.
Portrait of a Metal Worker in the Old Souk in Aghadir,Morocco: Abu Hamed has worked in his shop the size of a small closet for 14 years inside the shanty market. He fixes anything metal and works on small fishing boat engines. Many shops in the ragged and rusted market have been closed or moved to more new markets where tourist feel more comfortable going to.
Tripoli, Lebanon takes a break from continuous spillover clashes that entered into the 20th round of sectarian clashes between Sunni supporters of the Syrian opposition and Alawites loyal to the Syrian government. Clashes in 2014 have caused a considerable amount of structural damage to the countries second largest city and has claimed the lives of nearly 500 and wounded thousands. The Lebanese army has vowed to retake the city by making over 108 arrests and destroying fortifications built by militias. The army has intervened several times in the clashes since 2011 but has yet to maintain order. Lebanese citizens are hopeful with the armies heavy response that this time calm will last.