We Watched as a Kurdish Battalion Trained for Battle
At a military base outside Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, a battalion of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stood in formation on a concrete parade ground. The men wore mismatched uniforms and headgear — giving them an irregular appearance. But looks aside, they were here to become professionals … and learn... Read more
Voices of War #3 As part of War Is Boring’s field coverage of the conflict in Iraq and Syria, we are publishing a series of Q&A’s by journalist Matt Cetti-Roberts. These will be conversations with everyone from soldiers, fighters and politicians— to shopkeepers and artists. This is the third installment... Read more
We Went Inside an Iraqi Camp as Bedouins Trained for Battle
It’s springtime, and a group of Bedouin fighters in desert-pattern camouflage uniforms sing in a sprawling, lush field in northern Iraq. In the middle of the group, three men dance and time their movements to the rhythm. The rest of the fighters surround them, singing and clapping in time.... Read more
Before This Conflict, We Were All Like Brothers
As part of War Is Boring’s field coverage of the conflict in Iraq and Syria, we are publishing a series of Q&As by photojournalist Matt Cetti-Roberts. These are Cetti-Roberts’ conversations with soldiers, fighters and politicians — and everyday people on the streets. This is the second installment in the... Read more
Breaking Up Iraq Won’t Help
As part of War Is Boring’s field coverage of the conflict in Iraq and Syria, we are publishing a series of Q&As by photojournalist Matt Cetti-Roberts. These are Cetti-Roberts’ conversations with soldiers, fighters and politicians — and everyday people on the streets. This is the first installment in the... Read more
We Went Inside a German Training Camp for Kurdish Troops
A young, German army non-commissioned officer stands inside the room. He’s by the window, and he’s waiting for his students. There’s no door — just a cardboard box in its place marked “fragile.” The students — all of them Kurdish Peshmerga fighters — enter, kicking up dust and wildly... Read more
We Visited a Kurdish Gunsmith Who Repairs Captured Weapons
Kurdish gunsmith Bakhtiar Aziz holds up an M-16A4 assault rifle inside his dimly-lit workshop. The weapon smells like death. The rifle has holes in its upper receiver — damage from a coalition air strike. Its barrel has a large chunk missing, and there’s human hair lodged in its parts.... Read more
Inside the Christian Militias Defending the Nineveh Plains
Gen. Behnam, the leader of a new Assyrian Christian militia in northern Iraq, sits in the sparse barracks where his men train to defend their homelands from Islamic State. In August, the jihadi militants forced Behnam from his home in the central Iraqi village of Hamdaniyah, 51 kilometers southeast... Read more
Take a Tour of This Battle-Scarred Iraqi Ghost Town
The town of Jalawla, located within Iraq’s disputed territories, saw heavy fighting after a major Islamic State offensive in June 2014. Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi Shia militias forced the jihadis out of the town five months later. But Jalawla remains under threat by Islamic State insurgents, who often sneak... Read more
Once an Islamic State Stronghold, Jalawla Is Now a Ghost Town
Taha, the Kurdish security chief in Jalawla, walked through a hole in a demolished wall and climbed onto the rubble of his home. A sandstorm howled around him, covering the sky with an eerie yellow glow. He looked at the ruins. Nothing stood apart from a few metal supports... Read more

Matt Cetti-Roberts

Photojournalist, documentary photographer and correspondent in Iraqi-Kurdistan

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