It was mid october 2016 when the kurdish Peshmerga, together with the Iraqi army and some international support started their operation to take back the city of Mossul wich was, and still is the last big stronghold for the Islamic State in Iraq and it’s second largest city.
As I started dealing with this matter by the end of 2016 I kept asking myself one question. Besides all the complexity with the countless political groups being involved in it, who are those people fighting the Islamic State? What is their individual and very personal motivation that drives them into risking their lifes on the battlefield? This question gets even more important when you consider that Kurdistan is striving to be an independent country in that region with their border close to Mossul for centuries and in continuous battle with the Iraqi government for the past 90 years.
So I decided to spend some time with the soldiers. This project is not about promoting any political positions, all I was aiming for was to hear their personal motivations and to give them an opportunity to share their point of view.
I arrived in Erbil early dezember and stayed with the Peshmerga around Mossul for about two weeks. The kurdish operations in the cities and towns I visited had just ended days before I came to meet them.