The Sick Day Issue

Photos from the Fight to Take Mosul Back from ISIS

Manu Brabo's photographs capture the raw reality on the ground in Mosul.

by Manu Brabo
26 September 2016, 12:00am

This story appeared in the September issue of VICE magazine. Click HERE to subscribe.

In August, Iraqi soldiers and Kurdish forces known as Peshmerga began advancing toward Mosul, Iraq, where ISIS has held control for the past two years. ISIS-occupied towns line the route there. Near the village of Hawija, Peshmerga fighters encounter a refugee fleeing the conflict. Before allowing him to pass, he lifts his salwar kameez to show that he is not wearing an explosive vest beneath it.

View of a Peshmerga outpost at the frontline in Bashika, around ten miles to the outskirts of Mosul, Iraqi Kurdistan, May 2016. (Manu Brabo/MEMO)

A Peshmerga soldier gets ready for his watch in an outpost in Bashika, May 2016. (Manu Brabo/MEMO)

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter is seen reflected in a mirror while praying in Bashika, May 2016. (Manu Brabo/MEMO)

Peshmerga soldiers from the PAK (Iran) train at their positions at the frontline in Hawiya, about ten miles from Kirkuk, Iraqi Kurdistan, May 2016. (Manu Brabo/MEMO)

Members of Peshmerga special units, know as Task Force Black, stand at position behind a concrete wall during clashes between Kurdish and Shia militants in the town of Tuz Khourmatu, Iraqi Kurdistan, April 2016. (Manu Brabo/MEMO)

Hazel, a young inhabitant who escaped his village, which has been under ISIS control. Kurdish soldiers help him to enter the Peshmerga positions near Makhmour, Iraqi Kurdistan, April 2016. (Manu Brabo/MEMO)

Mohammed, a young man who fled the ISIS-held village of Nasr, is helped into a pickup truck. Makhmour, Iraqi Kurdistan, April 2016. (Manu Brabo/MEMO)