Kurdish Offensive in Sinjar • Moises Saman • Magnum Photos

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Conflict

Kurdish Offensive in Sinjar

Moises Saman travels to northern Iraq to document the country's on-going battle against the Islamic State

Moises Saman

Moises Saman Sunni fighters opposing the Islamic State gather in formation along the front line near the IS-controlled village of Haj Ali in the southern Mosul countryside. Makhmour, Iraq. November 19, 2015. © Moises Saman | Magnum Photos

In November Moises Saman returned to Iraq to cover the ongoing fight against the Islamic State. Traveling with Kurdish fighters, he entered the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar which had recently witnessed intense fighting.

Moises Saman A PKK fighter inspects an entrance to a network of tunnels dug by Islamic State fighters under the the Old City in Sinjar. Sinjar, Iraq. November 18, 2015. © Moises Saman | Magnum Photos
Moises Saman A Kurdish fighter mans a Milan rocket launcher on the western front line along Highway 47, on the outskirts of Sinjar. Sinjar, Iraq. November 15, 2015. © Moises Saman | Magnum Photos
Moises Saman Sunni fighters opposing the Islamic State take positions at the front line near the IS-controlled village of Haj Ali in the southern Mosul countryside. Makhmour, Iraq. November 19, 2015. © Moises Saman | Magnum Photos
Moises Saman The wreckage of a car remains along Highway 47 at the western entrance to Sinjar as smoke from burning houses can be seen in the distance, days after Kurdish forces re-took the city from the Islami (...)

Though there was still some evidence of the IS occupation, including a large mass-grave of Yazidi civilians, the town had been seriously damaged during US air strikes directed at IS forces and the eventual Kurdish and Yazidi assault.

 

Moises Saman A Kurdish fighter stands at the site of a mass grave found on the eastern edge of Sinjar, along Highway 47. Kurdish fighters believe that this mass grave contains the bodies of at least 60 elderly (...)

With nowhere to go, many civilians were caught up in the fighting.

Moises Saman Raid Shamun, 35, a Christian from Sinjar, inspects the damage to his family's house, burned by retreating Islamic State fighters in a predominantly Christian neighborhood in Sinjar. Sinjar, Iraq. N (...)
Moises Saman Graffiti made by Islamic State fighters found inside a destroyed building in Sinjar. Sinjar, Iraq. November 15, 2015. © Moises Saman | Magnum Photos
Moises Saman A man carries a large teddy bear salvaged from inside an abandoned home in the Old City in Sinjar, badly damaged by heavy fighting and airstrikes that targeted Islamic State fighting positions at t (...)
Moises Saman Sandbags at a Kurdish defensive position at the entrance of Snooni, a Kurdish town located at the foothills of the Sinjar Mountains. Sinjar, Iraq. November 15, 2015. © Moises Saman | Magnum Photos
Moises Saman © Moises Saman | Magnum Photos

Saman’s next destination was the front lines in Southern Mosul, where he photographed anti-IS Sunni militia facing off against their determined enemy.

Moises Saman Sunni fighters opposing the Islamic State gather in formation along the front line near the IS-controlled village of Haj Ali in the southern Mosul countryside. Makhmour, Iraq. November 19, 2015. © Moises Saman | Magnum Photos
Moises Saman Kurdish fighters sit by a fire on the village of Domiz, a front line position on the southern outskirts of Sinjar. Domiz, Iraq. November 15, 2015. © Moises Saman | Magnum Photos