back to top
World

19 Photos Of Life In A Divided Iraq

The fight against ISIS in Iraq is being fought primarily by two groups: Kurdish forces and Shiite militias. Photographer Ayman Oghanna captures the fracturing of the country they've been trying to save.

Posted on

The most powerful local forces emerging in the fight against ISIS in Iraq are Kurdish forces and Shiite militias backed by Iran. These forces are being supported by U.S.-led airstrikes, yet many militia brigades remain explicitly hostile towards the U.S. and its interests in the country. As the battle against ISIS remains split among chaotic partners and sectarian conflict continues to spread throughout the region, Iraq's future as a unified state looks uncertain.

Photographer Ayman Oghanna has been capturing the crisis tearing apart Iraq.

Photograph by Ayman Oghanna

An Iraqi Army soldier tries on a new uniform at a store selling military gear in central Baghdad. Kurdish and Shiite militia forces have filled the vacuum left by the defeat of Iraq's armed forces against ISIS last year, raising fears of intractable sectarian fighting.

Advertisement
Photograph by Ayman Oghanna

Outside Baghdad's morgue on June 25, 2014, a grief-stricken Sunni family mourns for a 62-year-old Sunni man executed outside his home in western Baghdad. Taha Ahmed Shabab was shot four times in the head. His family claim that a Shiite militia, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, is responsible.

Photograph by Ayman Oghanna

The body of a man killed by apparent gunshot wounds lies on a slab in the Baghdad morgue on June 25, 2014. Sectarian tensions are running high in the Iraqi capital, following the return of Shiite militias and execution-style killings to Baghdad's streets.

Photograph by Ayman Oghanna

Adam, 23, in his bare room inside Baghdad's nervous Sunni enclave of Adhamiya on June 11, 2014. Adam, like many young Sunni men in the Iraqi capital, is afraid to venture outside his street for fear of being targeted by Shiite militia.

Photograph by Ayman Oghanna

An Arab home ransacked by Kurdish forces in Gwer, Iraq, on Sept. 26, 2014. Gwer, a majority Arab town until a few months ago, has been emptied of its Arab residents and Kurds have refused to allow them to return to their homes.

Advertisement
Photograph by Ayman Oghanna

A female fighter of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) poses for a portrait in the PKK's mountain stronghold of Qandil in Iraqi Kurdistan on Sept. 28, 2014.

Photograph by Ayman Oghanna

US military personnel seen once more on Al Assad air base in Iraq's western province of Anbar on Dec. 28, 2014, three years after their American comrades withdrew. US forces are back in Iraq, training and advising Iraq's military in its fight against ISIS.

Photograph by Ayman Oghanna for BuzzFeed News

A Kurdish Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team stop traffic before detonating an improvised explosive device (IED) on the road to Mosul on March 10, 2015. ISIS is using IEDs in staggering numbers that have never been seen before in military history. The bombs are wreaking havoc on local forces fighting ISIS, slowing their advance and causing heavy casualties.


Advertisement
Photograph by Ayman Oghanna for BuzzFeed News

A peshmerga fighter covers his ears after a Kurdish Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team detonates a car filled with explosives following the capture of the northern Iraqi town of Mullah Abdullah from ISIS militants on March 11, 2015.

Photograph by Ayman Oghanna for BuzzFeed News

Shia militiamen pose for pictures with a captured ISIS flag on the outskirts of the Iraqi city of Tikrit on March 17, 2015.

Advertisement
Photograph by Ayman Oghanna for BuzzFeed News

Shia militiamen fire celebratory gunfire on the outskirts of the Iraqi city of Tikrit on March 17, 2015. Shiite militia number around 100,000 across the country and have emerged as the strongest battlefield players, working in close coordination with Tehran.


BuzzFeed World

Contact BuzzFeed World at miriam.elder+buzzfeedworld@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.