In June 2014, Amirli, a town in northern Iraq, was besieged by Daesh for about three months. In this film, the main character, an Iraqi engineer, talks about those days.
TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer: “Daesh terrorists went down here.
Look, they entered this hole.
They went down here.
Yes, this hole. Look!
A group of them turned over there.
These all belong to Daesh.
They all fired on us.
Original ammunition …
Premium ammunition …”
TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer: “They fired a mortar shell at us that landed here and the shells dropped around us. We used to sit here, but thank God, that day we were not sitting here. These are shell holes. Young children were sleeping here. The shells dropped over there and thank God they did not hit the children. Shojae, do not fire all the bullets. Let’s have some. I bought this gun before the emergence of Daesh for 4,000 dollars. They told me, “You bought it expensive.”I told them that one day it would be invaluable. The 100-bed hospital project of Tooz Khormatoo is a strategic project funded by the Ministry of Health. It is a major project because Tooz Khormatoo has got no hospital apart from an old one that was built in the 60s. We started the project in 2011 and until now we have just been able to complete the main structure of the building. The construction was stopped due to the current chaotic situation. Right now, the project is stopped because the country is in shortage of finance and the government cannot pay my company’s bill.
We hope that the staff will soon come back to their job because the city and the Tooz Khormatoo district as well as all the surrounding districts will enjoy the benefit of this hospital.”
Conversation [Arabic] An Iraqi Engineer and his children: “Come on, Mahdi! We are very late!
Would you like to play outside?
Why shouldn’t I let you play?
I let you play, but it is hot today, my son.
Let’s play at night.
Let’s play here.
He says, “Let’s play ball.””
Conversation [Arabic] An Iraqi Engineer and Abu Shahab from Amerli: “What’s new Abu Shahab? Let me do you a service.
This man is a hero from Amerli.
He was in Ali Hazza’e” position.
Let’s go together. Do you come along, Ahmad?
No, I’m busy.
He was wounded by a shrapnel shell of a mortar bomb but he didn’t retreat and stayed in the battle to the end.
Yes, this is Ahmad whose picture was in the films.
Nice to meet you, Abu Shahab.
God bless you.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer: “At the beginning of the war, we had a meeting with some brave guys like Ahmad, and formed a group of fifteen for special operations. With the help of these guys we laid mines and set ambushes.
Toward the end of the war, when the fight escalated, we divided and each got the responsibility of one of the fighting districts. Look Mahdi, I built this project.
I built the telecommunication building of Amerli in 2005. I built this school in 2009. I also built lots of other schools in the surrounding villages. Daesh destroyed them all.”
Conversation [Arabic] An Iraqi Engineer and staffs of a school: “Come here Hassan.
This is Hassan.
This is his brother, Ja’far. His other brother, Fathi, was martyred, God rest his soul!
And this is his son who lost both of his legs as a shrapnel shell of a mortar bomb hit him.”
TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00
Conversation [Arabic] An Iraqi Engineer and staffs of a school: “His name is Hossein.
Abu Zakaria works here. He is a clerk.
Where did you stay last night?
At uncle Abdullah’s house.
Whose guest are they today?
They are my guests.
Where will they stay at night?
They’ll be at my house, God willing.
Come to our house tonight.
Sure, if I have time.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer (In the General Abu Mohammad’s base): “What are you doing, Yahya?
Don’t shoot too much. We’ll run out of bullets.
We are General Abu Mohammad’s guest tonight at the military base.
In the initial fight, uncle Naji didn’t have any gun. He fought with a hunting rifle.
For a quarter of an hour I was urging him to retreat. I told him that we were able to escape back but he couldn’t due to his old age.
Finally, he agreed to retreat, but when they brought us ammunition, I saw him again coming back with my cousin, Falih.
Amu Naji is my father’s cousin. We are cousins and we are from the same family.
This is my older brother.
When Amerli was surrounded, Abu Mohammad played an important role in drawing a defensive map.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] General Abu Mohammad: “Daesh terrorists lie. Although they hoist flags of “There is no God but Allah” and “Muhammad the Messenger of Allah,” they do not respect God and His prophet deep in their hearts. They are non-believers because a Muslim never beheads another Muslim.“Salah, why don’t you work with us so that we give you a safe passage?”
Is this a message from Daesh?
Yes, it is from Daesh. It says, “Work with us, and you and your brothers will be safe.”
It means to become a member of Daesh, doesn’t it?
And in this message, they try to bribe me.
It reads, “You, your brothers, and anyone you want can exit safely.””
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer & some other people: “This is Amir and this is Hazem.
Hi, how are you?
Muhammad! In the initial fighting, who was injured here?
In the initial fighting, who was injured here?
Pull this …
Where is that hole in the wall?
We closed it.
You closed it yourself?
No, we locked it.
Mahdi, there was a crack here that snipers made use of it. They entered here and shot out from there.
Cannonballs can’t reach there.
We shot enough film from up. Let’s go down.
Come on! Let’s shoot film from down.
What are they bringing?
Come on! Hurry up!
Are you coming?
Yes, they’re coming, they’re coming.”
TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer: “Amerli forces recorded the most beautiful victories and acts of bravery in defense of their ideas, their land, and their religion.
For47 days, fighters in Amerli have been standing against the cruelest and the meanest enemies, that is, mouse-like Daesh.
I’ve killed many Daesh terrorists with this gun, especially in that house in the initial attack. We shot at them and they shot at us. They got close to us to the distance of 30 meters.
I shot more than 15 Daesh terrorists with this gun. This is their blood. They surrounded us and wanted to kill us and behead our children. They attacked us by mortar shells, DShK, and other weapons.
Here was the battlefield; we couldn’t even raise our heads. We couldn’t even turn the electric motor on to have some drinking water. At last, we had to trap them in order to attack them from here.
In fact, we got guns to protect our lives as well as our ideas. That is why wherever we went, Daesh terrorists targeted at me. In addition to being a sniper, I also oriented the airplanes. I had a software about finding the orientations and I oriented the airplanes. Mahdi, do you know why we call Daesh terrorist mice? Because their method is like that of mice; their shelters are small.
Come here and take a look. This is a Daesh trench. Here was their mat, look. They have taken out their stuff; three to four people used to sit in this trench. Come and turn it on. Come here. Bring it. Come. Look at this dog. Look, how it made the doghouse. This is their kitchen.
Daesh terrorists used to cook, eat and sleep here so that the airplanes couldn’t notice them. These clothes belong to Daesh terrorists. I know the man who shot; I’ll show him to you in the film. His clothes and gloves were torn to pieces due to the explosion; look at that blue shirt. While he was shouting Daesh is stable …”
TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer: “When Daesh terrorists arrived, they stopped their cars here. Some of them moved through this canal. It is used for irrigation.
Their commander was standing here, talking on the phone and giving commands. Their commander was standing here.
He was standing here and talking on the phone, saying, “We’ll attack Amerli in a few minutes.” Whose camera was it?
Daesh. The camera was here and he was standing here too calling. The cars were over there hitting Amerli by DShK. Their commander was standing here and talking, Daesh terrorists were advancing from here to over there to attack that house. We shot them too. Look at these holes. They are all bullet holes we shot at Daesh terrorists. Ja’far Mahmood Zeinolabedin is in charge of Amerli’s water organization.
He manages the city’s water system. He handles the issues related to the management and distribution of water. Right now, I have a new project that our company has taken in cooperation with The International Committee of the Red Cross. This is a connector. Water runs down from here toward the tank. There is an electric motor here, a pump. I posted it.
What? I posted it. In the new project, we replace the old pumps with the new electric pumps. The building is restored and the chlorine water purification system is also added.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer & some childern: “Go and get banana.
Come on! Hurry up!
Pick that up.
That one ...
This side ...
Hum, this one is good.
I’ll pay the rest of money.
Look how he goes.
He goes like a ship.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer: “This is Abu Muhammad’s home, and now Abu Muhammad is going to tell us the story …
Because we were having dinner here and praying and some of us were guarding. And Abu Muhammad was with us.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Abu Muhhamad: “Here is one of the main areas and Amerli’s front earthwork in the north. Daesh was about 750 meters far from us.
There were two series of attacks against Amerli, both from here. One of them was on July 16th and 17th. It was totally unexpected. They were about 100. The second attack happened on August 2nd by tanks and armored fighting vehicle.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer: “In the morning, I was on the roof at the time of the fight.Look, these are Daesh bullet holes.First, I shot from above, and then I rushed down and took position here. Did you shoot here by PK machine gun? It got black …
Yes, we shot here by PK.
No, in the morning. Then, I left here and Nebras came with a PKC gun.
I was shooting from here. I got tired and sat here in the corner. They shot at me by RPG-7; its shrapnel scattered here. Sa’ad went from this side and shot at the armored vehicle.
By ending Amerli’s siege, we got really happy due to achieving a great victory over Daesh. The siege lasted for 84 days something like three months. We suffered from shortage of food.
A lot of children died due to lack of food and medicine and lots women lost their lives in childbirth because of lack of drugs. Thank God, we achieved a great victory over Daesh. Our houses and lands became a cemetery for the terrorists.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer & some other people: “God give you strength. God willing.
Look at this bastard. He’s from Sudan. Watch this Sudanese.
He is here for jihad. He is a Daesh terrorist.
Look at his face. He looks like shoes.
Come on, shoot.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer & some other people: “Don’t hurry. Let Hussein shoot first, then you shoot. Come on.
Watch out Hussein. Be careful.
You hit now.
These are martyrs.
There are different kinds of food here.
These are local people’s donations for Arba’een.
Now it is found by three or four dinars.
When can we get it?
I don’t know, let me get it, then I’ll get it for you at a lower price.
Hello!How are you? What’s new?
Hello, how are you? What’s new?
Are you from …?
Is everything OK?
Thank God, fine.
How many families are here?
We are five families here.
Tell us about the first day of the attack. How did they attack your area?
Did you fight against them?
It was the fifth month of the year that Mosul fell.
One week after the fall of Mosul, Daesh came toward Tal Afar.
There were two fights in Tal Afar. After the second fight, we went toward Sinjar.
We took our families as well.
Did your wife die?
God rest her soul; was she with your child?
No, they were in another group.
Daesh terrorists attacked us for several days; they suffered casualties and then retreated.
In the last day, they came in their hundreds equipped with tanks, hummers and cannons. They bombarded all over Tal Afar. They didn’t engage in hand-to-hand combat. They just fired rockets. Their rockets and shells reduced our military power.
81 shells hit the area where I live.
Daesh attacked this checkpoint by 150 soldiers. They all died.
This is a company commander. His name is Mostafa. He is the company commander of Tooz.”
TIME CODE: 35:00_41:07
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer & some other people: “This is Dr. Hassan’s son. When we were fighting against Daesh, they arrested and beheaded him.
That was it.
Wait patiently, God willing. Without patience nothing can be done.
Gather your power and return to your country.
You know how the government is, it is very weak, and has some problems in the military.
In fact if there weren’t Iran, our situation would be very deplorable.
We would face problems with regard to armaments.
Shoja’e! Don’t shoot all the bullets, let the others remain.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer: “They are two martyrs from Tooz Khormatoo called Abu Ali and Abu Zahra. They were killed in the Balad area (near Samarra) and now we are here to welcome them.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Unknown Iraqi Engineer & His children: “Hassan! Which car do you and Amer take?
I don’t know. I think this is our car.
Shall I tell Hussein to come and play?”