Open Wounds: Portraits of Peshmerga

Younes Mohammad


Mustafa Abdullah Hamad born in 1952, sat between his grandchildren He is one of the Kurdish heroes Peshmerga that all his life fighting for Kurdish people rights. four-time he got wounded in different battles ( Saddam and ISIL). He has a 75% disability.

Mustafa Abdullah Hamad, b. 1952, with grandchildren. Wounded four times in different battles.


Hawar Mohammad Abdullah was born in 1985 and has been a Peshmerga since 2000. Hawar was wounded on two separate occasions while fighting ISIS. In April 2015, in Mara village in Kirkuk province, he was shot. Less than an hour later he was wounded again by an IED (improvised explosive device). It took 6 months of treatment before he would recover, at which point he went back to the frontlines. The second time Hawar was wounded was in September 2017. While fighting in the village of Abo Mohammad in Kirkuk province he was again wounded by an IED. The explosion left him in a coma for 33 days. His wife, who was pregnant, suffered a heart attack and died, which he attributes to the stress she endured following his second injury. The injuries left HawarÕs body battered and scared. He lost his left ear and left eye and after 5 surgeries he has recovered only 50% of his sight in his right eye. He has also lost his Duodenum and more than 200 pieces of shrapnel remain in his body. Life is hard for Hawar, with three kids he struggles to manage their needs despite receiving 100% disability designation. With more treatment needed, he hopes the government will help to ensure that he does not have to have his leg amputated. This is just one of the more than 10,000 Peshmerga were wounded in the against ISIS.

Hawar Mohammad Abdullah, b. 1985, wounded on two separate occasions while fighting ISIS.



Zohre Zaher Ali is, Halo's wife and she is 29 Years Old. Her wife, Halo Mahmoud Shamorad was born in 1983 and has been a Peshmerga since 2003. Halo has injured a total of eight times in the fighting against ISIS each time Halo returned to the frontlines. The last time that he was injured was in October 2015 in Hawija near Mosul. Her wife was the head of a unit thatÕs responsibility was to clear IEDs, Halo was cleaning a field when one of the mines exploded. The IED took his left hand and ear and left him with burns on over 33% of his body. After recovering for just 18 days Halo went back to the battle and he remained there until the end of the war with ISIS. Her wife has a 75% disability.

Zohre Zaher Ali, 29 years old, wife of Halo Mahmoud Shamorad, wounded by an IED.


Brahim Ahmad Ebrahim Ghader was born in 1969, he is Peshmarga since 1993 and during this time two-time he got wounded which last time was fighting ISIS in May 2015 and he lost two-leg with and one eye and a lot of shrapnel in his body by the explosion from an IED in Daqoq Area near Kirkuk. According to Media reporters, more than 10,000 Peshmargah were wounded in the IS war.

Brahim Ahmad Ebrahim Ghader, b. 1969, wounded by an IED explosion.


Chenar Khalid Abdullah born in 1987 is Weshyar Aziz Maghdid's wife, Weshyar born in 1981 and he got wounded at Aug 2014 by an improvised explosive device (IED) and he lost Left leg and left eye and both ear especially the left one as well as he got a lot of Shrapnel in his body. Chenar's husband has a 95% disability and they have three kids, Rayan 2011, Rozhin 2015, and Ahmad 2019.

Chenar Khalid Abdullah, b. 1987, wife of Weshyar Aziz Maghdid, wounded by an IED.


Ebrahim Aref Saleh was born in 1956 and joined as a Peshmerga in 1981. While engaged in the fight to destroy ISIS he had his femur shattered into nine pieces by an ISIS bullet in Shandokha, part of Mosul Provence. EbrahimÕs injuries required treatment in Kurdistan, Turkey, and Germany. Without the funds to cover the immense cost of care, Ebrahim was forced to sell his home, vehicle, possessions, and borrow from friends. He hopes the government will honor men like him by providing greater support and access to care. This is just one of the more than 10,000 Peshmerga were wounded in the against ISIS.

Ebrahim Aref Saleh, b. 1956, wounded by an ISIS bullet in Shandokha, part of Mosul Province.


Hazhar Nader Hassan Fathallah, 41, and his wife Sheler Abdullah Hassan, 37 and their baby.<br /> He lost both his legs to an ISIS improvised explosive device in September 2014 in Makhmour in Mosul province. Beyond the loss of limbs, Hazhar's struggles with PTSD have made him quick to anger. He is plagued by persistent nightmares of being on the battlefield, alone, without ammunition, with ISIS closing in. With physical limitations and PTSD, he recognizes the toll the war has taken, not just on him, but also on his family. Hazhar's wife helps to support the family both by working outside the home and within it, by tending to her children and husband.

Hazhar Nader Hassan Fathallah, 41, his wife Sheler Abdullah Hassan, 37, and their baby.


Salman Farman Saleh with his two kids, He was born in 1992 joined the Peshmerga in 2009. He was wounded in fighting ISIS in Dec 2014 in Makhmour near Mosul. As a member of a team that clears IEDs, he was cleaning a field of mines when one exploded near him. The blast took both his legs, one hand, one eye, and an ear. He has a 100% disability. He has two kids.

Salman Farman Saleh, b. 1992, with his two kids. Wounded while clearing a minefield.


Bahman’s wife Hind Hassan Yousef born in 1992 and her newborn Noah, Her husband, Bahman has been a Peshmerga since 2007. Bahman was wounded while fighting ISIS in October 2015 in the Qwer area near Mosul province. During the battle, he was first shot by two enemy bullets and was wounded again when a coalition airstrike came too close. The severity of his wounded forced doctors to amputate his right leg. They Have four kids.

Hind Hassan Yousef, b. 1992, with her newborn Noah. Hind’s husband, Bahman, was wounded on two occasions.


Artist’s Statement: As a Kurd and as a refugee who spent twenty-four years living in exile, I have embarked on a long-term project in the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq, documenting the Peshmerga fighters in their battle against ISIS. These intimate portraits are an attempt to depict the war-time wounds and post-battle sacrifices that these fighters and their families have suffered. They fought side by side with brothers, uncles, cousins, fathers, and sons, knowing that the freedom and survival of their people were at stake. Many expressed hope that the price they paid is the price not just of their freedom but of the world’s, and the question they often asked is, will the world help them or forget them now that they have put down their guns.


Younes Mohammad was born in 1968 in Dohuk, Iraq. He is a Kurdish freelance photographer mostly active on assignments for newspapers, magazines, etc. He spent his life in Iran as a refugee from 1974 – 1998 and graduated with an MBA University of Tehran. Photography was his passion but he had no chance to follow it while the war situation was still continuing under Saddam’s time. In 2011 he quit his job and started his journey as a photographer. His work has been exhibited internationally and published widely in publications. He has received numerous awards. He is now based in Erbil, Iraq.


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