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dariusaskari dariusaskari

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Darius Askari  Visual Architect, building stories from experiences // Native New Yorker, turned Bangkok based ex-pat, currently focused on Mosul, Iraq

Lt. Colonel Morteza Ali (left) chats with 1st Lt. Abdul Azeez (right), smoking French cigarettes and sipping Iraqi tea as the late afternoon light cuts harsh. Sitting in a lavish civilian home commandeered by Iraqi Security Forces, sounds of the occasional airstrike serve as constant reminder that safety is nothing more than an intoxicating illusion. Azeez, who himself was a refugee that fled Sinjar, would talk about how much respect he had for the man beside him; how he’d been a mentor for him and all the while neither of them aware of their fate.
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Lt. Colonel Morteza Ali would be killed by a mortar in Zanjili neighborhood during an operation to rid the city of ISIS operatives. 1st Lt. Abdul Azeez would narrowly escape the same demise. After being dragged from under rubble caused by an explosion in Badush, he was pronounced dead. Only after an injection of adrenaline directly into his heart and defibrillator paddles sending electricity coursing through his body, would he be resuscitated.
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The cruel reality is that not everyone makes it home.

After the libration of Zanjili neighborhood the Iraqi Armed Forces diverted their attention to Al-Shifa, first securing positions in the Mosul College of Medicine in the hopes of taking control of Al-Jamhuri Hospital, sitting a mere 70 meters away, where it was estimated 200-500 civilians were kept hostage in the basement. An all too common tactic Daesh uses corralling civilians into areas of heavy fighting, using them as human shields. A relentless barrage of deafening sniper and machine gun fire ringing out as ERD (emergency response division) soldiers attempted to gain ground, before setting their sights on Old City, the last remaining stronghold of ISIS. (West Mosul, Iraq)

A selection from "Scorched Earth, Scarred Terrain"

A commodity man has waged war over rises from the desolate landscape, as blood from fallen heroes and vanquished foes commingle somewhere in the middle. Two foreign substances that were never intended to meet make informal acquaintances in an area devoid of reason.
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Qayarrah, Iraq

A selection from "Scarred Terrain, Scorched Earth"
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Qayarrah, Iraq

A selection from "Scorched Earth, Scarred Terrain"
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Qayarrah, Iraq

A selection from "Scorched Earth, Scarred Terrain"

A sheppard tends to his flock despite the air being polluted by burning oil, his sheep turned a muddled hue from the residue of strife. No living thing seems to escape the evil deeds of man, but there's a remarkable resiliency seen in those that endure despite it.
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Qayarrah, Iraq

A selection from "Scorched Earth, Scarred Terrain"

Iraqi firemen attempt to snuff out a raging fire using a mixture of chemicals and water, the result of detonated explosives at the hands of ISIS operatives.
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Qayarrah, Iraq

A selection from "Scorched Earth, Scarred Terrain"

Children play in the remnants of a burnt out bus used as a car bomb. Innocence, such a fleeting quality usually afforded only by the youth, incrementally eroded away by years of incessant trials and tribulations.
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Qayarrah, Iraq

A selection from "Scorched Earth, Scarred Terrain"
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Qayarrah, Iraq

A selection from "Scorched Earth, Scarred Terrain"

Oil is secreted from near surface reservoirs where Daesh sets fires to create chaos and smoke screens. •••
Qayarrah, Iraq

A selection from "Scorched Earth, Scarred Terrain"

The complexities of conflict don't just materialize in the form of political agendas or human stories, often the environments where war is waged serve as wounds carrying the brunt of damage inflicted by violence and combat.
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Qayarrah, Iraq (December, 2016)

All photos posted prior to 2017 were done so absent of journalistic standards & practices, merely serving as a reminder of my personal development as a photographer, who's work has now shifted to that of a documentarian perspective.

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