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Fires and armed conflict take toll on Kurdish flora, fauna

The mountains of Iraq's Kurdistan region are threatened by man-made and natural wildfires that are difficult to control because of a lack of firefighting resources and manpower.
A general view of the mountains next to the town of Suleimaniya, some 330 km north of Iraqi capital Baghdad, January 31, 2004. North of the bombs and the chaos, the Kurdish city of Suleimaniya is worlds apart from the Iraq that dominates the headlines. Shops with bright neon signs and sharp window displays line wide, clean streets; traffic lights flash red and green; women walk unveiled through the city. At night the trees are hung with colored light bulbs, the restaurants full of diners. TO GO WITH STORY I

SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan Region of Iraq — Hawraman Sajadi nearly lost his life a year ago trying to help firefighters during a forest fire in the Bafri Miri Mountains, in Iraq’s Halabja region, bordering Iran.

When fire broke out on that hot summer day last July, Sajadi and two friends had set out on foot to take food and water to the two dozen firefighters battling the fire. They were unfamiliar with the terrain. As they walked along, one of them spotted a sand-colored anti-personnel mine. Terrified, the group then noticed several more mines around them.

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