At the end of the First Gulf War, Allies established the safe haven in northern Iraq also known as Kurdistan. Amid the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from three northern provinces, Iraqi Kurdistan emerged as an autonomous entity inside Iraq. During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the offensive of the Kurdish fighters called Peshmerga and their U.S. military allies became the northern front of the invasion.
Four-year-old Bawan Ahmad Salih holds his toy AK-47 assault rifle at his uncle's house in border town of Kalar Monday, April 7, 2003. Real AKs and RPGs rest against a wall in the room. Children grow up with weapons of war stored openly in many households.
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American soldiers try to capture the Hussein regime-run cotton ginnery from remaining Republican Guards and looters in Kirkuk, Northern Iraq.
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As the forces of Saddam Hussein retreat, Arab villagers near Kirkuk armed themselves, afraid of retaliation by the majority Kurds. Under Saddam Hussein's regime, Arabs were intentionally resettled in order to control Kirkuk an important city with a large oil field.
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US soldier body search Iraqis before crossing a bridge at the city of Tikrit soon after the American forces took a full control. Tikrit is the hometown of Saddam Hussein and where one his palaces sits next to Tigris River.
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Kurdish Peshmerga fighters fire Katyusha missiles from a multiple rocket launcher into Saddam Hussein's positions.
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Kurds cheer at the news of the fall of Baghdad in the street of Sulaymaniyah.
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A diagram illustrating different explosive devices at the camp of Ansar al Islam. The Islamic fundamentalist group established themselves in 2001 in Sargat. The battle against the group by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and the U.S. military known as Operation Viking Hammer, led to the death of a substantial number of militants.
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Zubayda Sadiq Khani, 63, grieves for a relative who died in the Iraqi Army chemical attack at Halabja Martyrs Cemetery. The town of Halabja sits by the mountain where the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) and Ansar al-Islam, Islamic militant group were fighting, and sound of shelling could be heard as people grieve for their loved ones.
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Kurdish man tries to smash the face of Saddam Hussein's statue on the day the City of Kirkuk fell.
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Kurdish children found a new use of Saddam's statue, making it a playground at the main square in northern Iraqi town of Kirkuk.
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A boy runs to a US M-1 tank in Kirkuk where Saddam’s forces had recently retreated.
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Brian Clark of the 1st Light Armored Division of the U.S. Army does his chores at Saddam Hussein's former palace in the city of Tikrit.
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Wearing years of hardship on his face, a Kurdish man leaves the village of Chamchamal, which borders the area controlled by Saddam Hussein. Town residents began evacuating due to the the looming war, in fear of chemical attack.
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Disfigured portrait of Saddam Hussein in the City of Kirkuk.
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Posters of late Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri is prominently displayed on the street of Beirut, Lebanon's capital Thursday, May 31, 2007. UN Security council passed the resolution to allow the establishment of a tribunal to try the suspects of the killing of Hariri and 22 others by a car bomb in Feb. 2005.
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A woman mourns the death of Antoine Ghanem, an anti-Syrian lawmaker in Beirut.
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A powerful car bomb killed an anti-Syrian lawmaker Antoine Ghanem in a Christian suburb of Beirut, September 19, 2007, a week ahead of Presidential election. Ghanem's death means the ruling and pro-western alliance of Sunni, Christian and Druze factions had a slim majority of 68 in the 128-member parliament against a Shi'ite-Christian opposition that includes Hezbollah which is backed by Syria and Iran.
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With a pistol on his hip, a supporter of Phalangist Christian Party tries to keep the road clear for the funeral procession of slain anti-Syrian lawmaker Antoine Ghanem and his bodyguards in a Christian suburb of Beirut, September 21, 2007.
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An anti-government militia fighter signals to give him a cover fire before crossing the street during a crash with pro-government fighters in Beirut, Lebanon, May 8, 2008.
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The clashes between Fatah al-Islam, an Al Qaeda-inspired militia, and the Lebanese Army erupted on May 20 around Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon and the nearby port city of Tripoli; rapidly deteriorating into the deadliest internal fighting Lebanon had seen since the 1975 – 1990 civil war.
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Palestinian refugees brave sniper-fire whilst trying to flee the fighting in Nahr Al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon, May 26, 2007.
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A MP arrives at the Lebanese Parliament in Beirut under heavy security, September 25, 2007. After a brief meeting, they announced the postponement of a session to elect a new president until next month after the legislature failed to have a quorum to elect the President because of a Hezbollah-led opposition boycott. Fears of another attack against anti-Syrian lawmakers were high after the killing of Antoine Ghanem the previous week, which fueled the accusation against Syria being behind the political killings which left 5 MPs and Rafiq Hariri, Prime Minister dead.
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A boy dressed in military outfit is one of tens of thousands gathered, waving yellow Hezbollah flags, at the welcoming ceremony of 5 released prisoners being held at Beirut's southern suburb, July 16, 2008. Five prisoners, most notably Samir Kuntar, were swapped by Israel in exchange for the bodies of two soldiers who were taken during the July War in 2006. Kuntar was 16 when he was captured, and was in captivity for 29 years.
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SOS from Iraq
Walking through the 2nd floor of Red Crescent hospital in Amman, Jordan, you could witness to the devastation war and the ensuing violence had brought upon the civilian population in Iraq. During post Second Iraq War violence, hospitals could not perform complex surgeries so they set up a program – in cooperation with the Jordanian Red Crescent Hospital in Amman and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) – where they evacuated victims, performed reconstructive surgery and repatriated them after treatment.
The day after his grandfather was shot to death, Abdullah, then 6, stood with his father at the funeral in Baghdad when a bomb exploded at a market down the street. Neighbors rushed to the scene when the second attack came near the tent they were standing. Here, Abdullah, by now 7, is playing with balloons in a children’s room created in a Jordanian hotel where the patients spent time recovering.
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Abdullah's father keeps a photo of Abdullah taken before he was injured.
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Dr. Andre Eckardt, a German surgeon flew in to help patients, consults with Abdullah and his father through an interpreter before surgery.
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Dr. Andre Eckardt, a German surgeon, discusses procedures with an Iraqi surgeon on the case of Abdullah March 4, 2008.
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Father of Abdullah reads a passage of the Koran and prays before surgery, March 4, 2008.
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Dr. Eckardt and two Iraqi surgeons perform facial surgery on Abdullah March 4, 2008.