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Battling from their refugee tents: Meet the Kurdish peshmergas fighting to take back their homes

Peshmerga living in the Baharka refugee camp in northern Iraq are fighting to retake their homes, insisting they will not stop until they succeed.
An officer speaks to Kurdish Peshmerga forces during a training session by coalition forces on how to fight street battles and defend the front lines in a training camp in the outskirts of Arbil, north of Iraq, March 24, 2015.  REUTERS/Azad Lashkari - RTR4UN6E

ERBIL, Iraq — Surrounded by a sea of dry fields, the Baharka refugee camp in northern Iraq looks exactly as one might imagine: dusty, poor and swept daily by scorching winds. Most of the souls wandering around with the sun at its peak and the heat overwhelming are careless children whose smiles are a reminder that rubbish also can make a fitting soccer ball. From time to time, when duty calls, a man in a dark green uniform also steps outside his tent.

Sahad Hala has just shaved. He is not supposed to report to the front line for another week, but recent clashes near his military base, less than 2 miles from an Islamic State (IS) position, might force him to deploy sooner than scheduled. He is prepared, just in case he gets the call. At first glance, Hala could be mistaken for a member of the camp's security team, but someone guarding a camp of tents provided by the UN refugee agency is unlikely to need his razor at work.

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