‘We Have Had Three Years of Our Lives Destroyed’
Cars, trucks and the occasional motorbike trundle along a wide West Mosul highway in the scorching mid-June heat. Most vehicles here show the scars of battle, such as shrapnel holes and shattered windows owing to thousands of concussive blasts from mortars, bombs and IEDs. On a road in the Al... Read more
‘It Was the Biggest Explosion I Have Ever Experienced’
“The air was filled with white smoke!” Sgt. Hussein of the Iraqi Federal Police said as the sound of small-arms fire, air strikes and helicopters boomed in the background. Hussein was one of many Iraqi troops who witnessed the immediate aftermath of the demolition of the ancient Al Nuri... Read more
Iraqi Troops Work Under Fire to Save Mosul’s Trapped Civilians
A group of civilians walk along a raised section of a West Mosul highway beneath the morning sun. It’s only 9:00 a.m. and, despite a cool start, the temperature is steadily rising. Beyond the civilians, smoke rises from a large fire, burning somewhere along the front line where Iraqi soldiers... Read more
Two Days Inside the Battle for West Mosul
Inside an old hotel on the edge of West Mosul’s Old City, a Federal Police marksman takes aim with his rifle. A small circle of light beaming in from outside the room reflects off his PSL’s telescopic sight onto his eyeball. He concentrates, staring through a small crack between... Read more
In West Mosul, Iraqi Troops With Heavy Weapons Battle ISIS Snipers
The sky above West Mosul is dark and brooding. Heavy rain-laden clouds stretch as far as the eye can see, lending an oppressive air to an already dangerous city. At the entrance to a courtyard, the body of an Islamic State fighter covered in a large piece of red... Read more
With Heavy Air Support, Kurdish Troops Go on the Offensive
This is the second part of a two-part series. Read part one. Before dawn, the peshmerga prepare for fighting. A group of soldiers gather below the outpost, pointing down with the lights on their mobile phones and cracking open Soviet-style ammunition boxes, distributing the bullets. Armed vehicles laiden with... Read more
To the Edge of Kurdistan
This is part one of a two-part series. Read part two. A cool night breeze drifts across the roof of the building, wafting away mosquitoes seeking their meals from any exposed skin. Illuminated by an almost full moon, Kurdish peshmerga fighters rest on mattresses or crude metal beds with cruelly... Read more
Smugglers Risk Death in the Shadow of Iran
This is part two of a two-part series. Read part one. The morning light streams through the tent, a Kurdish flag flapping in a strong wind. The temperature dropped last night, and those on guard put on warm jackets. The long dry summer is coming to an end. The morning routine begins... Read more
Into the Mountains With Kurdish Rebels Fighting Iran
This is part one of a two-part series. Read part two. Kurdish music blasts through low-quality speakers inside our bus. Some of the passengers clap to the rhythm while the older ones point to landmarks across the arid landscape, informing the younger and more inexperienced travelers the names of... Read more
We Watched Kurdish Fighters Clash With Islamic State
The dull roar of circling coalition aircraft fills the night sky over the town of Bashiqa. Below, perched on a dusty mountain that takes its name from the same town, Kurdish peshmerga fighters alternate between scanning enemy territory in front of them and peering up to catch a glimpse... Read more

Matt Cetti-Roberts

Photojournalist, documentary photographer and correspondent in Iraqi-Kurdistan

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