The city of Sulaimaniya sits gently in the Piramagroon – Kanikhan valley.
Its Grand Millenium, a sail-shaped palace, recalls Dubai’s Burj al-Arab.
One of the most important cities in Iraqi Kurdistan, it experienced dark moments during the Iran-Iraq war and later with the Kurdish persecution by Saddam Hussein.
And since December 2016, the open front against Isis has been increasingly widespread, and has stopped in Kirkuk, a few kilometers from Sulaimaniya. In February 2017, the third attack on Mosul would start.
The Peshmerga, proud and valiant Kurdish fighters who gave Saddam’s forces a hard time, are now a symbol of the war against Isis.
A few miles from the war, life goes on. In 2016 I was in Sulaimaniya for an Italian-Kurdish project on bone marrow transplant. I also had the opportunity to collaborate with Emergency on rehabilitation projects and health interventions in refugee camps.
Walking around the city was sweet and shocking at the same time. Mosques full of worshipers, inside markets with balloons and games, children dressing up, vendors roasting meat using a modified anti-aircraft alarm. Friends smoking hookah, going to dinner, celebrating a birthday.
How is life a hundred miles away from the war?
- When 2016
- Where Sulaimaniya - Iraq