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Photo Essay:
Kirkuk, Portrait of A Flashpoint in 15 Pictures

Kirkuk has been, and will most likely continue to be, one of Iraq's most dangerous, most contested cities. But as this Metrography photo essay shows, life must just go on for locals.
21.07.2015

The northern Iraqi district of Kirkuk is a complex one and it boasts an even more complicated capital city, of the same name. Thanks mostly to the various different ethnicities and sects that have made their home here, the city has long been a dangerous place, a flashpoint for Iraq's many ethnic and sectarian conflicts.

Currently the city is controlled by military from nearby Iraqi Kurdistan. Many in that semi-autonomous northern region see this as a triumph – when the Iraqi army fled in the face of the extremist group known as the Islamic State, the Iraqi Kurdish military seized the opportunity to take control of the city, which some have described as the Kurdish “Jerusalem”. And this is seen as something of a coup because Kirkuk has long been part of Iraq's disputed territories. These are parts of the country that Iraqis of Kurdish ethnicity say belong to their semi-autonomous region but which the government in Baghdad says belong to Iraq proper. Today, by default, Kirkuk belongs to the Iraqi Kurdish.

At least, it does for now. After the IS group is expelled from the country or sufficiently diminished, Kirkuk will doubtless be the subject of much tense negotiation between Baghdad and Erbil - again.

Over the past year local photographer Hawre Khalid has looked past that, to document his city in this series of pictures, allowing outsiders a glimpse into daily life in one of Iraq's most fraught, most fought-over and often-times, most dangerous, cities.