Iraq Interrupted

Stories of survival from Iraqi men and women who have struggled and persevered through more than a decade of conflict — from the twilight of Saddam Hussein’s reign, the US invasion in 2003, years of sectarian conflict, and the rise of ISIS.

Capt. Khatoon Khider, left, commander of the all-female Yazidi Sun Brigade, with her sister, Aliya, in a home near the city of Dohuk, in Iraqi Kurdistan, on Sept. 24.

These Yazidi sisters took up arms to take revenge against ISIS


Khatoon Khider used to sing folk songs about the suffering of her people, the Yazidi religious minority. After ISIS overran her hometown in northern Iraq, she put down her tambur instrument and picked up a gun, forming the first all-female Yazidi peshmerga battalion to fight the militant group.

For two years, Ismail al-Kanon and his mother, Jandar Nasi, were captives of ISIS. More than most living under the terror group’s rule, they had reason to expect that they would never escape — because they were Iraqi Christians.

How an Iraqi Christian teenager survived two years in the heart of the ISIS ‘caliphate’

Riyad al-Jaboury, an Iraqi English teacher, with his birds in his yard in Hamam al-Alil, northern Iraq.

ISIS forced this Iraqi teacher to change all his lessons — ‘it became all about death’

Zikra Younis, right, and her daughter Huda at the Khazer camp for displaced people. The camp is east of the Iraqi city of Mosul, where they escaped from last November.

This Iraqi woman escaped ISIS and a bad marriage, all for the love of her children