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Tehran and Isfahan Scenes 01
Isfahan
By serracelikkan
23 Sep 2015

A man cycling past an art studio, one of the hundreds of shops located in and around the Naqsh-e Jahan Square (formerly known as Shah Square) in Isfahan. The entire complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Tehran and Isfahan Scenes 02
Isfahan
By serracelikkan
23 Sep 2015

A local man playing his flute and greeting passers-by.

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Tehran and Isfahan Scenes 03
Isfahan
By serracelikkan
23 Sep 2015

Inside view from the Shah Mosque, formerly known as the Imam Mosque.

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Tehran and Isfahan Scenes 09
Tehran
By serracelikkan
22 Sep 2015

A Tehrani taking a moment off from the cacophony of sounds and sights exerted by the noisy and congested capital.

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Tehran and Isfahan Scenes 11
Tehran
By serracelikkan
21 Sep 2015

Young Tehranis flock to the nearby mountainside to feast, play and be merry in private groups.

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Global Refugee Crisis: The Worst Sinc...
Beirut
By b.yaacoub
11 Jun 2015

June 20 is World Refugee Day.

In 2014, global refugee numbers were higher than they have ever been since World War II. In 2015, the problem has only gotten worse.

There are currently over 50 million refugees in the world and more than %50 of them are children. Approximately half of the world's refugees are from just three countries: Afghanistan, Syria, and Somalia.

The response to this massive international crisis has been limited, with most refugee aid programs desperately underfunded. Amnesty International has called the lack of robust international response "A Conspiracy of Neglect." With little help on the way, the future of the world's displaced remains uncertain.

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Thai Migration Meeting
Bangkok
By GonzaloAbad
29 May 2015

Mr. Robertson, Deputy Director Asia of Human Right Watch, speak with us about first impressions of "Thailand Migration Meeting" and migration.
Bangkok, 29 May 2015

The Royal Thai Government is organizing the Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean on 29 May 2015 in Bangkok. The Special Meeting is an urgent call for the region to comprehensively work together to address the unprecedented increase of irregular migration in recent times. 

The meeting will provide a forum to exchange information and views in addressing the unprecedented increase of irregular migration by sea. Senior officials responsibility for the issue from 17 countries in the region most affected by irregular migration by sea are expected to participate in the meeting, namely, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Thailand. In addition, the United States of America and Switzerland will participate as observers. Three international organizations, namely the UNHCR, UNODC, and IOM will also join the event.

The key topics of discussion will include:
1. Finding urgent solutions for the 7,000 irregular migrants estimated to be remaining in the Indian Ocean;
2. Finding long-term solutions to the problem of irregular migration in the Indian Ocean, particularly those related to human trafficking;
3. Addressing the challenges in countries of origin. 


Key objectives of the meeting are:
1. Promote international cooperation in solving the problem, and engage key affected countries of origin, transit, and destination, considering that Thailand is a country of transit;
2. Emphasize the principle of international burden sharing;
3. Engage constructively with countries of origin and in the region.

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The Hippie trail 40 years later: Esta...
Kabul
By Lola García-Ajofrín
26 Mar 2015

A woman in niqab carring a bag of oranges crosses a street lightly in the district of Sultanahmet in Istanbul next to tourist in jeans shorts and tank top, at the time people are called to pray. The canticles of the mosques strategically placed rastles a flock of doves. Probably Ka, the protagonist of “Snow” by Pamuk, have already written a poem.

There in Divan Yolu street, where for most of the trip ends today, in the 60s and 70s, the adventure of some long-haired young guys started. The beginning was Lale restaurants, that nobody knew for its name, only for their delicious pudding. So if somebody wanted to see the world should ask for the pudding shop.

 The “world” meant “beyond Europe”. In the Shah's Iran and Afghanistan of miniskirts. That country of “camel caravan”s that “was also a land of elephants” through Silk Road crossed and whose mountains sheltered bandits and smugglers,” describes Spanish writer Ana M. Briongos in her book 'A Winter in Kandahar '. Briongos, now 68, was one of those lon-haired Europeans who in the 60s and 70s visited Iran and Afghanistan. A trip from Europe to Asia, which usually was born in Turkey, passing through Iran and Afghanistan and sometimes even continued by Pakistan and India. They called it the 'Hippie train'.

From that tour the Lonely Planet guides were born. The first one (Across Asia on the Cheap) was published exactly 40 years ago (1975). We wonder how would be the “hippy trail” 40 years later and this is the result. These pictures were talking in three different trips to Istambul in Turkey (2014), Teheran and Isfahan in Iran (2014) and Kabul in Afghanistan (2012).

 

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A Hero Found: Missing Soldier Returns...
Gilan, Sangar, ُSangar Road, Iran
By Hosain Nazari
07 Mar 2015

Born 16 july 1968 in Shahrestan village, near the northern Iranian city of Rasht, Mohammad Ali Hasanjani was only 18 years old when he was deployed by the Iranian Army on the frontlines of the Iran-Iraq war. Soon after he was killed and his body never recovered. For 27 years he lay missing, buried amidst the wreckage of war, his family having no remains with which to mourn. However, after missing for 27 years, Mohammad's body was found and he was recently returned home to his village for a hero's funeral. 

During the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1989) hundreds of thousands of soldiers were killed on both sides. In Iran, people who were killed in the conflict were declared martyrs, or heroes for their country. Due to the chaotic and exceptionally deadly nature of the war, many soldiers went missing in battle. At the end of the war, the search began to find those missing in action and the mission continues to this day. Many of those soldiers who are found are never identified. However, in some cases, like that of Mohammad Ali Hasanjani, missing soldiers are indentified and returned home for a long overdue funeral. 

These photos chronicle the funeral of Mohammad Ali Hasanjani 27 years after he was killed. 

 

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Regular Flights between Iran and Yeme...
Sanaa International Airport
By Yousef Mawry
01 Mar 2015

March 1, 2015
Sanaa, Yemen

For the first time in 25 years, an Iranian flight landed in Yemen at Sanaa International Airport after Houthi and Iranian officials signed a contract in Tehran to open a direct aviation service between the two countries. They agreed to set up 14 weekly flights between the two countries. The plane was from Mahan Air, a private airline based in Tehran that operates domestically in Iran and internationally to the Far East, the Middle Eat, Central Asia, and Europe. Keen to show that they were not supplying the Houthis with weapons, the Iranian flight arrived with a donation of 12 tons of medical supplies and equipment from the Iranian Red Crescent. Iranian officials at the airport said they regret that such an agreement was not signed years ago to help build Iranian-Yemeni relations.

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Iran: Mining Red Clay in Hormuz
Hormuz, Iran
By Mehdi Nazeri
07 Jan 2015

Iran’s Hormuz Island has one of the world’s most famous red clay mines, from which ocher is extracted, and a long history in the country’s mining industry. The island is located about 18 kilometers southeast of Bandar Abbas and occupies 42 square kilometers: covered by sedimentary rock and layers of volcanic material on its surface, with vast deposits of red clay.

Hormuz’s ocher is used in at least twenty different industrial products like paint, cosmetics, tiles and ceramics, mosaics, clay and glaze pottery, and the production of industrial micronized powders, among others. Even the island’s native people used ocher for making a traditional kind of food named Souragh.

But working conditions for laborers in Hormuz’s mines are very difficult, with one of the main issues being workplace conditions and a lack of safety facilities. The mine and factory belong to a private company that, according to its miners, does not pay enough to the workers.

One miner, Ali Hashem, 40, works at the Hormuz red clay mine and moves bags containing soil to be loaded and shipped for processing. Hashem says he is paid $260 per month and that the “amount of work is not worth the low payment workers receive monthly.”

“I am going to get married,” he says, “but my income is just too low working in this mine.”

Like Hashem, ten other workers spend long hours in the mine, facing hazardous conditions.

“If I was to raise a family, how would 260 dollars cover the expenses?” he asks.

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Red Clay Miner 01
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

Hormuz’s ocher is used in at least twenty different industrial products like paint, cosmetics, tiles and ceramics, mosaics, clay and glaze pottery, and the production of industrial micronized powders, among others.

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Red Clay Miner 02
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

Ali Hashem puts on his safety gear.

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Red Clay Miner 03
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

Working conditions for laborers in Hormuz’s mines are very difficult, with one of the main issues being workplace conditions and a lack of safety facilities.

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Red Clay Miner 04
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

Working conditions for laborers in Hormuz’s mines are very difficult, with one of the main issues being workplace conditions and a lack of safety facilities.

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Red Clay Miner 05
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

Working conditions for laborers in Hormuz’s mines are very difficult, with one of the main issues being workplace conditions and a lack of safety facilities.

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Red Clay Miner 06
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

Working conditions for laborers in Hormuz’s mines are very difficult, with one of the main issues being workplace conditions and a lack of safety facilities.

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Red Clay Miner 07
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

Ali Hashem, 40, works at the Hormuz red clay mine and moves bags containing soil to be loaded and shipped for processing. Hashem says he is paid $260 per month and that the “amount of work is not worth the low payment workers receive monthly.”

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Red Clay Miner 08
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

Ali loads bags of red clay onto a three wheel motorcycle.

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Red Clay Miner 09
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

Ali Hashem, 40, works at the Hormuz red clay mine and moves bags containing soil to be loaded and shipped for processing. Hashem says he is paid $260 per month and that the “amount of work is not worth the low payment workers receive monthly.”

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Red Clay Miner 16
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

Working conditions for laborers in Hormuz’s mines are very difficult, with one of the main issues being workplace conditions and a lack of safety facilities.

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Red Clay Miner 15
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

Ali Hashem works 8 hours daily in a red clay mine.

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Red Clay Miner 17
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

“I am going to get married,” Ali Hashem, 40, says, “but my income is just too low working in this mine.”

Red Clay Miner 10
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
31 Dec 2014

Lunch break at the red clay mine in Hormuz.

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Red Clay Miner 11
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
30 Dec 2014

Ali Hashem gets $250 per month to work in an unhealthy environment.

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Red Clay Miner 12
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
30 Dec 2014

Ali Hashem works 8 hours per day in a red clay mine.

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Red Clay Miner 13
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
30 Dec 2014

Working conditions for laborers in Hormuz’s mines are very difficult, with one of the main issues being workplace conditions and a lack of safety facilities.

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Red Clay Miner 14
Hormuz
By Mehdi Nazeri
30 Dec 2014

Working conditions for laborers in Hormuz’s mines are very difficult, with one of the main issues being workplace conditions and a lack of safety facilities.

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Iranian Ambassador to Yemen Escapes H...
Sanaa
By Yousef Mawry
03 Dec 2014

December 3, 2014
Sanaa, Yemen

An explosive-laden vehicle targeted the home of Iranian ambassador to Yemen in the capital Sanaa.

Officials at the site say this was a one of a kind explosion which rocked the entire capital. However, the car bomb failed to harm its intended target, the Iranian Ambassador, who was not in the compound at the time of the attack.

The Yemeni government is expected to form a committee to investigate the assassination attempt however it is mostly likely that the attack was carried out by Al-Qaida in Yemen.

Footage shows houses wrecked due to the heavy impact of the explosion and shattered windows in nearby residential houses and vehicles within the vicinity.

Shot list:

00:00
A close-up shot on the Iranian flag/ zoom out shows damaged Iranian embassy compound from outside.

00:18
Several wide shots show people in plain clothes and military outfits standing outside the Iranian embassy compound.

00:35
A close-up shot on the Iranian flag/ zoom out shows damaged Iranian embassy compound from outside.

00:48
A wide shot shows a car with broken windshield.

00:53
A wide shot shows people walking past the Iranian embassy compound.

01:03
A wide shot shows three men inspecting the damage caused by the explosion.

01:11
Two wide shots show broken windows in the Iranian embassy compound.

01:20
A tilt down movement/ a wide shot shows broken windows in a supermarket near the Iranian embassy compound.

01:34
Interview with private security guard outside supermarket near the embassy (Man, Arabic)

“The explosion took place at 9:05 [AM] at the opening time. I thought it was inside [this building] but it was 300 meters away. It was in the direction of the north. This shrapnel landed here. The glass and decoration in this shopping center were also broken.”

02:03
Interview with government official (Man, Arabic)

“All the concerned authorities and the local council will carry out their duties. His Excellency the President of the Republic has given his orders to authorities to be present at the explosion site
people who were affected by the incident will be paid indemnities.”

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Inside Hezbollah (Last version)
Nabatieh
By Cherine Yazbeck
30 Nov 2014

Shot list:
00:00 - 00:05
A wide shot shows a large billboard featuring portraits of Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria, with Hezbollah and Amal flags around it. The writing at the bottom of the billboard reads: “The Martyrs of Holy Defense.”
00:06 – 00:10
A medium shot shows details of the billboard.
00:11 – 00:14
A medium shot shows a billboard featuring Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah.
00:15 – 00:47
Interview with Ali Arab, a Hezbollah supporter, man, Arabic/ interview transcript below
A medium shot shows young Hezbollah scouts holding large portraits of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader; and Sayyid Abbas al-Mussawi, a Hezbollah Secretary-General assassinated by Israel.
00:48 – 01:15
Various shots show a large number of male Hezbollah supporters wearing uniforms inspired by Ashura and beating their chests as a sign of grief for Imam Hussein.
01:16 – 02:48
Interview with Habib Fayyad, a political analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, man, Arabic / interview transcript below
Archive footage of Hezbollah parade in south Beirut; recent footage of children participating in Ashura commemoration in Nabatieh; archive footage of the Lebanese parliament; recent footage of missile launchers and Hezbollah fighters in military fatigues and as part Ashura parade in Nabatieh
02:49 – 03:37
Interview with participant in Ashura commemoration, man, Arabic/ interview transcript below

03:38 – 04:23
Interview with Habib Fayyad, a political analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, man, Arabic / interview transcript below
Archive footage shows Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah and fighters during a parade in south Beirut.

Interviews
00:15 – 00:47
Interview with Ali Arab, a Hezbollah supporter, man, Arabic/ interview transcript below
A medium shot shows young Hezbollah scouts holding large portraits of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader; and Sayyid Abbas al-Mussawi, a Hezbollah Secretary-General assassinated by Israel.
“It is normal that we are at risk from different parties and we should be aware of what is happening around us. It is true we are ready on all fronts against all of the Tafkiris [religious extremists], and even against Israel. This parade, particularly in Nabatieh, is a challenge to the Israelis, so they know we are not afraid of them. This is a big Jihad for us.” 01:16 – 02:48 Interview with Habib Fayyad, a political analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, man, Arabic “Hezbollah defines itself as a resistance movement against Israeli occupation and against any danger that may affect Lebanon. It is a resistance movement that is also involved in politics. It is also an Islamic movement, but it does not practice Islam in politics. Hezbollah has an Islamic doctrine, but it does not apply it in the political agenda it advocates in the Lebanese political arena. It [Hezbollah] is also is merged with other active political parties and movements in the Lebanese scene. “Hezbollah’s legitimacy is derived, firstly, from its partisans [its popular support base]; and secondly from the Taif Agreement [agreement ending the Lebanese civil war], which states that Lebanon shall resist Israel in all possible ways. Its legitimacy is also derived from the Lebanese parliament, since Hezbollah has members in it; and from the Lebanese government, of which it is a part. All of the pervious and current governments have clearly recognized the legitimacy of Hezbollah as a pillar of resistance against Israel. However, the most important thing is that its [Hezbollah’s] legitimacy is obvious and logical because, whenever there is an occupation, there is the right of the population to resist the occupation.”

02:49 – 03:37
Interview with participant in Ashura commemoration, man, Arabic
“Of course, Hezbollah is legitimate as it has liberated the South along with other allied parties including the Amal Movement, the Syrian Social National Party (SSNP) and the Communist Party. “All parties have fought [against Israel]. “Hezbollah’s weapons are targeted against innocent civilians and are not to be used in [civilian] neighborhoods. “It never fought in the streets. It is not only me; everybody says that its weapon is the most honest. Without [its weapons], Lebanon would not exist and there would be no one ruling the country, not even a president of the republic. “On the contrary, the weapons must remain in the hands of Hezbollah, in the hands of the resistance. “More than that, it [Hezbollah] should be more powerful. “We need ten times more rockets. It shall remain and we will protect it.”

03:28 – 04:23
Interview with Habib Fayyad, a political analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, man, Arabic
“Hezbollah has qualified and capable leaders in various domains: in politics, in military, social welfare, in security, in culture, in education and in economy. Hezbollah does not have to give a list of its leaders for security reasons, since the enemy, Israel, targets it. It only publishes the names of those who appear in the media. Aside from these [people], Hezbollah does not have to publish the names and tasks of its ranks.”

Hezbollah Fighters Defy ISIS and Israel on Ashura

Giant portraits of Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria tower over the main square in the Lebanese southern city of Nabatieh.
The commemoration of Ashura has taken place every year in this square. It is a tribute to Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad and a central figure for Shiite Muslims who was killed more than 1,300 years ago. But Hezbollah’s engagement in defending the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has cast a heavy shadow on this religious occasion.
“We are here today to renew our allegiance to Imam Hussein, who died defending Islam, and also to show a good image of Islam, which other organizations, like ISIS, do not show,” said Ahmad Daifi, a Hezbollah militant in his twenties who was participating in organizing the event. The battle against ISIS and other groups that Hezbollah describes as “takfiri” or extremist has spilled into Lebanon. Explosions as well as attacks across the border, believed to be orchestrated by ISIS and Nusra Front, have shaken the fragile country during the past year. “It is normal that we are at risk from different parties and we should be aware of what is happening around us,” said Ali Arab, a Hezbollah supporter. Hezbollah and Amal, another major Shiite party, took special measures to secure the crowds against suicide bombings in Nabatieh and other predominantly Shiite areas in Lebanon during Ashura. In Beirut’s southern suburbs, Hezbollah special forces, fully clad in black, were seen for the time on the streets. But Hezbollah claims that the fight against militant groups originating in Syria has not distracted it from its war with Israel. In a speech commemorating Ashura, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah said that his party is winning the fight in Syria and is also ready to retaliate against any Israeli attack. Hezbollah staged a military parade in front of a large crowd in Nabatieh. Dozens of fighters wearing military fatigues marched behind missile launchers mounted on military trucks. Hezbollah considers missiles the backbone of its arsenal in its fight against Israel, despite a Security Council resolution that put an end to a bloody war with Israel in 2006 and banned the party from stockpiling weapons near the border.
Hezbollah’s opponents, however, say that its ongoing military activities are actually a source of instability, not protection. Sunni and Christian major political forces have repeatedly demanded that the militant group hand over its weapons to the government after Israel withdrew most of its forces from south Lebanon in 2000. The party’s critics have also urged Hezbollah to stop fighting in Syria.
Habib Fayyad, an analyst affiliated with Hezbollah, reiterated the party’s official position in defense of its choice to maintain its weapons.
“Hezbollah’s legitimacy is derived, firstly, from [its popular support base], and secondly from the Taif Agreement [agreement ending the Lebanese civil war], which states that Lebanon shall resist Israel in all possible ways,” Fayyad said. “Its legitimacy is also derived from the Lebanese parliament, since Hezbollah has members in it, and from the Lebanese government, of which it is a part. All of the pervious and current governments have clearly recognized the legitimacy of Hezbollah as a pillar of resistance against Israel,” he added. Hezbollah has had members of the parliament since 1992, when the first elections were organized two years after the end of the 15-year-long civil war. In 2005, Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was assassinated. The Syrian regime was seen as the culprit behind the attack and Syrian forces withdrew under international and popular pressure. Hezbollah has since participated in government coalitions, which is seen as way to protect its military activities. Four members of Hezbollah were later indicted of Hariri’s killing by an international tribunal, but the party refused to hand them over. Despite a claim that it does use weapons inside Lebanon, Hezbollah fought against the Sunni Future Movement in 2007 when the latter demanded that Hezbollah dismantles its secret telecommunication network. This exacerbated sectarian tensions – Hezbollah was accused of militarily occupying Beirut, a predominantly Sunni city. But Fayyad referred to the Israeli occupation of a small area called Shebaa farms in south Lebanon to say that Hezbollah still has to right to maintain its arsenal. “The most important thing is that [Hezbollah’s] legitimacy is obvious and logical because, whenever there is an occupation, there is the right of the population to resist the occupation,” he said.

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YIBO CAMP
Gaziantep
By Felipe Passolas
30 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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Fpc3138
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
29 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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kurdish women
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
29 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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kurdish suppoters
Kobanî, Syria
By Felipe Passolas
29 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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food, camps, refugees
Gaziantep
By Felipe Passolas
29 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS