I’ve decided to post these pictures I took whilst in the town of Telskuf Iraq. I originally took the pictures to go with an article about a Christian refugee camp and what it’s new residents had fled. However I thought the images deserved a better show that what they got in the news article. I want to show the destruction and devastation left by war. How people’s homes and possessions that they worked their lives for had been looted or destroyed in just a few days.
Telskufs Christian history dating back as far as the eleventh century and possibly further. Assyrian writer Giwargis Warda first mentions the Town as an Assyrian Christian village in a thirteenth-century poem. This poem describes its sack by a raiding band of Mongols in November 1235 and the destruction of its church. The attack in 2014 was just the latest in a series of attacks dating back hundreds of years and I cant help but wonder if it will be the last.
These pictures were made in a small part of Telskuf that was built in 2007 to house Christian refugees who had fled persecution for their faith in Baghdad and Mozul. Now these residents have been forced to flee again when in early August 2014 ISIS figters entered the town. Most only had time to grab basic possessions leaving everything else behind including photo albums and family portraits still hanging on walls, food still in the fridge and clothes still hanging in wardrobes. Every house I entered looked like it had been looted with the family’s possessions strewn all over the floors. This was not the scene of a great battle in fact I could see no signs of a battle in this area of the town at all. There where no bullet holes in any of the walls and its unclear if the couple of demolished building had been hit by air strikes or blown up with explosives by ISIS. A few houses had been set on fire and were totally burnt out. There was also a fowl smell from all the rotting food left behind. ISIS only had possession of the town for a short time when on 17 August 2014 the Kurdish Peshmerga re took the town. As of Sept 2015 the town has no residents, with only Peshmerga and anti-ISIS militia in the town.