Iraq

A combination photo shows children from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the Iraqi town of Sinjar due to violence by Islamic State militants, as they pose at their holy Lilash temple in northern Iraq September 20, 2014. Thousands of Yazidis have been shot, buried alive or sold into slavery by Islamic State militants, who regard them as devil-worshippers. U.S. President Barack Obama authorized air strikes in Iraq in August, citing the duty to prevent an impending genocide of Yazidis at the hands of Islamic State militants after they overran a vast swathe of northern Iraq. Simonovic said that Islamic State was forcing Yazidis to either convert to Islam or be killed with the intent of destroying the religious group. Islamic State originally attacked the area around Sinjar, in northwestern Iraq, in August. They advanced on Iraq's Sinjar mountain, tightening a siege of thousands of stranded Yazidis, who called on the United States and its allies to act to avert more bloodshed. Pictures taken September 20, 2014.  REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT)

Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

A combination photo shows children from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the Iraqi town of Sinjar due to violence by Islamic State militants, as they pose at their holy Lilash temple in northern Iraq. Thousands of Yazidis have been shot, buried alive or sold into slavery by Islamic State militants, who regard them as devil-worshippers. U.S. President Barack Obama authorized air strikes in Iraq in August, citing the duty to prevent an impending genocide of Yazidis at the hands of Islamic State militants after they overran a vast swathe of northern Iraq. Simonovic said that Islamic State was forcing Yazidis to either convert to Islam or be killed with the intent of destroying the religious group. Islamic State originally attacked the area around Sinjar, in northwestern Iraq, in August. They advanced on Iraq’s Sinjar mountain, tightening a siege of thousands of stranded Yazidis, who called on the United States and its allies to act to avert more bloodshed. 

Troops of the Interior Ministry march in a parade during a ceremony marking Iraqi Police Day's 93rd anniversary at a police academy in Baghdad January 8, 2015.

Ahmed Saad/Reuters

Troops of the Interior Ministry march in a parade during a ceremony marking Iraqi Police Day’s 93rd anniversary at a police academy in Baghdad on Thursday

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter holds up a piece of clothing worn by an Islamic State fighter in Kesarej village, south of Zumar, Nineveh province. Kurdish peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq's Sinjar mountain and freed hundreds of people trapped there by Islamic State fighter. The assault, backed by U.S. air strikes, ended the months-long ordeal of hundreds of people from Iraq's Yazidi religious minority, who had been besieged on the mountain since Islamic State stormed Sinjar and other Kurdish-controlled parts of northern Iraq in August.

Ari Jalal/Reuters

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter holds up a piece of clothing worn by an Islamic State fighter in Kesarej village, south of Zumar, Nineveh province. Kurdish peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq’s Sinjar mountain and freed hundreds of people trapped there by Islamic State fighter. The assault, backed by U.S. air strikes, ended the months-long ordeal of hundreds of people from Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority, who had been besieged on the mountain since Islamic State stormed Sinjar and other Kurdish-controlled parts of northern Iraq in August

Displaced Iraqis, who were forced to flee their home because of Islamic State's advance earlier this year, queue for humanitarian aid that is being distributed by the Barzani Charity Foundation after being delivered by lorries from the Polish charity SOS FOR LIFE at a refugee camp near Zakho in Duhok, Iraq

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Displaced Iraqis, who were forced to flee their home because of Islamic State’s advance earlier this year, queue for humanitarian aid that is being distributed by the Barzani Charity Foundation after being delivered by lorries from the Polish charity SOS FOR LIFE at a refugee camp near Zakho in Duhok, Iraq

A police officer stands guard as Shia pilgrims make their way to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the holy Shia ritual of Arbaeen, in Baghdad, December 10, 2014. Arbaeen falls 40 days after the holy day of Ashura.

Ahmed Saad/Reuters

A police officer stands guard as Shia pilgrims head to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the holy Shia ritual of Arbaeen, in Baghdad on Wednesday. Arbaeen falls 40 days after the holy day of Ashura

 An Iraqi Christian, who fled from her home because of Islamic State's advance earlier this year, hangs up washed clothes to dry besides a displaced persons camp near Umm al-Nour Church, which is now home to hundreds of displaced Iraqi Christians in Erbil, Iraq.  Although the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq was already a refuge for an estimated 250,000 Syrian refugees, since the Islamic State began its onslaught on Iraq in June, Kurdistan has also taken in a more than one and a half million displaced people. Many have been placed in purpose-built refugee camps but the huge numbers mean thousands of others are forced to live in un-finished buildings or inadequate, makeshift shelters and as winter in the region closes in, there are growing concerns for the welfare of the refugees who, while their homes are still in ISIL controlled territory, have no realistic prospect of returning to them.

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

An Iraqi Christian, who fled from her home because of Islamic State’s advance earlier this year, hangs up washed clothes to dry besides a displaced persons’ camp near Umm al-Nour Church, which is now home to hundreds of displaced Iraqi Christians in Erbil, Iraq.

An Iraqi craftsman prepares to heat up metal at a workshop in a market in Baghdad on December 2, 2014. The International Monetary Fund said in its October World Economic Outlook that Iraq's gross domestic product is forecast to shrink by 2.7 percent this year, down from the 5.9 percent growth it forecast in April.

Ahmad Al-Rubate/AFP

An Iraqi craftsman prepares to heat up metal at a workshop in a market in Baghdad on Tuesday

Iraqi security forces march on the outskirts of Najaf, south of Baghdad November 19, 2014.

Alaa Al-Marjani /Reuters

Iraqi security forces march on the outskirts of Najaf, south of Baghdad on Wednesday

Iraqi Shiite Muslim worshipers self-flagellate during a ceremony marking Ashura, which commemorates the seventh century slaying of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, in the mainly Shiite southern city of Basra on November 3, 2014.

Haidar Mohammed/AFP

Iraqi Shia Muslims self-flagellate in Basra during a ceremony to mark Ashura, which commemorates the seventh century slaying of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed.

Boys inspect the site of double car bombings in the northern Shiite district al-Hurriyah in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. On Tuesday, officials say a wave of bombings targeted commercial areas across Iraq, killing and wounding dozens of people. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

Karim Kadim/AP

Boys inspect the site of double car bombings in the northern Shia district al-Hurriyah in Baghdad, Iraq. On Tuesday, officials say a wave of bombings targeted commercial areas across the country, killing and wounding dozens of people 

A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq...A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria, in this U.S. Air Force handout photo taken early in the morning of September 23, 2014. These aircraft were part of a large coalition strike package that was the first to strike ISIL targets in Syria. At least 14 Islamic State fighters were killed in air strikes by U.S.-led forces overnight in northeast Syria, a group monitoring the war said on September 25, 2014, and the Syrian air force bombed rebel areas in the west of the country. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Matthew Bruch/Handout  (IRAQ - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.

US Air Force/Reuters

A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria, in this U.S. These aircraft were part of a large coalition strike package that was the first to strike ISIS targets in Syria. At least 14 Islamic State fighters were killed in air strikes by U.S.-led forces overnight in northeast Syria, a group monitoring the war said on Thursday and the Syrian air force bombed rebel areas in the west of the country.

Kurdish peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants on the front line in Khazir, September 16, 2014.

Azad Lashkari/Reuters

Kurdish peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants on the front line in Khazir

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter launches mortar shells towards Zummar, controlled by Islamic State (IS), near Mosul September 15, 2014.

Ahmed Jadallah /Reuters

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter launches mortar shells towards Zummar, controlled by Islamic State (IS), near Mosul in Iraq

 BAG04 Iraq's new premier Haider al-Abadi sits during a parliamentary session to vote on Iraq's new government at the parliament headquarters in Baghdad September 8, 2014. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani   REUTERS NEWS PICTURES HAS NOW MADE IT EASIER TO FIND THE BEST PHOTOS FROM THE MOST IMPORTANT STORIES AND TOP STANDALONES EACH DA

Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

Iraq’s new premier Haider al-Abadi sits during a parliamentary session to vote on Iraq’s new government at the parliament headquarters in Baghdad 

Asaib Ahl al-Haq Shi'ite militia fighters from the south of Iraq and Kurdish peshmerga forces walk with their weapons as they take control of Sulaiman Pek from the Islamist State militants, in the northwest of Tikrit city...Asaib Ahl al-Haq Shi'ite militia fighters from the south of Iraq and Kurdish peshmerga forces walk with their weapons as they take control of Sulaiman Pek from the Islamist State militants, in the northwest of Tikrit city September 1, 2014.

Youssef Boudlal/Reuters

Asaib Ahl al-Haq Shia militia fighters from the south of Iraq and Kurdish peshmerga forces walk with their weapons as they take control of Sulaiman Pek from the Islamist State militants, in the northwest of Tikrit city

Displaced Iraqi children from the Yazidi community are pictured in a refugee camp near the Turkey-Iraq border at Silopi in Sirnak on August 14, 2014.  The United States said Wednesday its troops found "far fewer" Yazidi refugees marooned on a northern Iraqi mountain than expected, making an evacuation mission less likely, after air strikes pummeled besieging Islamic militants.

Ilyas Akengin/AFP

Displaced Iraqi children from the Yazidi community are pictured in a refugee camp near the Turkey-Iraq border at Silopi in Sirnak

Aircrew aboard an RAF Hercules prepare to deliver humanitarian aid to Yazidi refugees in the Sinjar mountains in Northern Iraq.

Cpl Neil Bryden RAF/MoD Crown Copyright/PA Wire

Aircrew aboard an RAF Hercules prepare to deliver humanitarian aid to Yazidi refugees in the Sinjar mountains in Northern Iraq.

Displaced people from minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk towards Syrian border, on outskirts of Sinjar mountain...Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate August 10, 2014. Islamic State militants have killed at least 500 members of Iraq's Yazidi ethnic minority during their offensive in the north, Iraq's human rights minister told Reuters on Sunday. The Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria, has prompted tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians to flee for their lives during their push to within a 30-minute drive of the Kurdish regional capital Arbil.

Rodi Said/Reuters

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi community leave Sinjar town, northwest Iraq, and walk towards the Syrian border

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 8, 2014. The United States began to drop relief supplies to beleaguered Yazidi refugees fleeing Islamist militants in Iraq, but there was no immediate sign on Friday of U.S. air strikes to halt the sweeping advance of Islamic State fighters.

Reuters

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province on Friday. The United States began to drop relief supplies to beleaguered Yazidi refugees fleeing Islamist militants in Iraq

Iraqi Shias clean the grave of a relative at one of the world's biggest cemeteries in the holy city of Najaf, on July 29, 2014, during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Haidar Hamdan/AFP

Iraqi Shias clean the grave of a relative at one of the world’s biggest cemeteries in the holy city of Najaf, on Tuesday in Iraq