We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Iraq's wounded and grief-stricken reveal a divided country after Isis

7 15 3
18.04.2019

The moment the 54-year old walked up to the car, it was obvious that something was terribly wrong. The way he dragged his feet, then stamped them on the ground and marched forward like a toy soldier, head lowered; then the way he looked up at you from beneath dark brows, in both greeting and concern. Taamy Wahab Mohamed el-Yasaari should have returned from the Isis battlefront to a land fit for heroes.

For the Shiite Muslims of southern Iraq, he counts among the heroes. When I ask him when he was wounded, he looks and stares at the wall in a distressed way, dark eyes framed by thick black hair but white beard.

“Several times I was wounded,” al-Yasaari says. And you can tell that the bullets and shrapnel have framed a diary in his mind. “On 28 April 2015 at Bayji, on 3 July 2015, again at Bayji, on 5 May 2016 on the Makhoul mountains near Tikrit, then on 3 July 2017 at Khalidiya in Anbar province.” It was the last wound which did for him.

From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

“I was leading a company of the Ali Akbar Brigade into an attack on the enemy, and an Isis sniper shot me in the head. His bullet hit me in the back of the brain.” And here al-Yasaari puts his left hand to the back of his head. “I lost part of my skull and words are very difficult for me now. My memories are very difficult. I regret nothing. I followed the “fatwa” of our leader [Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani]. Look, here are my wounds.”

And the staring eyes of al-Yasaari look at me as he rolls up his trousers to show scars and great searing cuts across his legs. There is a terrible mark on his calf, as if someone has sawed away at the flesh. He had paid the price of following Sistani’s “fatwa” – to fight a “defensive war”........

© Independent