war

'Made in Iran': Iranian weapons in Iraq conflict

With sanctions strangling its ability to get its hands on weapons, Iran's only way of amassing a stockpile of arms has been to build them itself. Sniper rifles, armoured vehicles or even surveillance drones make up the Islamic Republic's store of military hardware. Now, Tehran is busy secretly funnelling these weapons to groups taking on the Islamic State group in Iraq. Read more...

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The Iraqi poets flirting with death


Torn apart by a civil war, a collective of poets from Babylon province, in the centre of Iraq, has recently conducted a series of performance pieces based on the theme of the violence that is destroying their homeland. During these performances, they literally flirt with death. Read more…
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'How I helped a young French couple return from waging jihad'


Oumar lives in Istanbul. In the past couple years, he's witnessed first hand the transformation of Turkey's economic capital into a stopping point for men and women determined to wage jihad in Syria. But a few days ago, he was put in touch with a young French couple who had decided to make the same journey in the opposite direction. When the French consulate was unable to help, Oumar stepped in to lend a hand. Read more...
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Ukraine rebels launch grisly propaganda war


Separatists in eastern Ukraine have begun taking their propaganda war into unchartered territory. Gruesome new footage has emerged of prisoners of war kneeling before a rebel commander who forces them to eat their army badges. Other scenes from this grisly reel are too graphic to show. Read why it marks a turning point...

DR Congo clinic caught in crossfire between rebels and soldiers


Deep in the forests of North Kivu - in the eastern Congo - lies the region’s only health centre. Yet nurses who work for the community clinic in the isolated village of Lubonga are living in constant fear of violence. Our Observer met health workers under pressure from two warring factions: Congolese soldiers and rebel militias. Read more...
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Helping children overcome trauma of war through dance

Dance can help children recover from the trauma of war. That’s the belief and hope of the members of the project Bidna capoeira (which means “We want capoeira” in the Arabic spoken in Syria and the Palestinian Territories), who want to help children living in refugee camps in the Middle East discover this Brazilian discipline, which is somewhere between a dance and a martial art, and promotes cooperation. Read more...

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‘White helmets’, the Syrian men and women braving bombs to save lives


In Syria, they’re known as the Syrian Civil Defense. Elsewhere, they’re called the “white helmets”, which is what they wear during their rescue operations. For almost two years now, these volunteers have been saving lives day in and day out in areas bombarded by the Syrian regime. Read more…
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'Food porn' for IS fighters, soup kitchens for the rest

Since the coalition strikes started, prices have skyrocketed in the Syrian city of Raqqa, and inhabitants are struggling to make ends meet. The local soup kitchen is having trouble feeding all the needy residents. Meanwhile, the jihadists who control the city post photos of their feasts on social media. Read more...

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Gaza aftermath: "I have to rebuild my house for the third time"


It’s a modern, Middle-Eastern version of the Greek myth of Sisyphus, the king condemned eternally to repeat the same task over and over and over again. Ahmed lives in Khuzaa, a small agricultural town in southern Gaza. Located near the Israeli border, the town was the site of fierce ground action during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas earlier this summer. Ahmed’s house was destroyed—for the second time in five years. Read more...
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A doctor’s struggle on Kobane’s frontlines


Nearly a month after the start of the Islamic State (IS) organisation’s attack on Kobane, fighting continues to rage between the jihadists and Kurdish fighters trying to defend the city. Our Observer, a Kurdish doctor in Kobane’s only field hospital, is treating civilians and fighters with what little resources he has. Read more…
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