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In pictures: Inside the Iraqi camp where former Isis members live alongside their victims

Hassan Sham IDP camp, Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, June 2019

More than a year after the claimed defeat of the Islamic State (Isis) caliphate, 1.8 million people remain displaced in Iraq and northern Syria, the majority of whom are eking out lives in internally displaced person camps in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region. For issue #36 of Delayed Gratification, Susan Schulman visited one of the camps in which both former Isis members and their victims have taken shelter – and found a powder keg ready to explode.

Below are some of the pictures from Hassan Sham.

Saviha Yassim Ali, 60, cradles her five-year-old granddaughter Ruhia. The family have been living in Hassan Sham for two years, since the offensive against Isis reached the caliphate’s former stronghold of Mosul, and Saviha and her family took their opportunity to make a perilous escape. “We have seen everything bad imaginable,” she says of the time under Isis. “I am praying they won’t come back.”

Women walk through Hassan Sham camp.


The camp is home to a number of men who claim to be former Isis members who have served prison sentences for crimes they committed while in the caliphate. They say that in Kurdistan they face being targeted by Shia militias and in the rest of Iraq, which doesn’t respect Kurdish justice, they are all still wanted men. “Your destiny under the Shia militia is death,” says one, “but if we go to the Iraq side we will end up in jail. If you were me, would you accept this life? I prefer to die than accept it.”

The village of Hassan Sham lies in ruins, with the Hassan Sham IDP camp in the background. The village was occupied by Isis for two years after which the adjacent IDP camp of Hassan Sham was opened.

Read the full story of the camp and its residents in issue #36 of Delayed Gratification.

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