The crisis in Iraq: Thousands train to fight against militant Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

With the Iraqi military facing a huge crisis, tens of thousands of Iraqis answered the government’s call for volunteers to fight the predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Newly-recruited volunteers are undergoing military training in various parts of the country. –Thea Breite (14 photos total)
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1. Shi’ite volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against the predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), stand at attention during military training in Najaf, June 22, 2014. (Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters)

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2. A volunteer in the newly formed “Peace Brigades” trains near the Imam Ali shrine in the southern holy Shiite city of Najaf, Iraq, Friday, June 20, 2014, after calls by the radical Shiite cleric Muqtatda al-Sadr to form brigades to protect Shiite holy shrines against possible attacks by Sunni militants. (Jaber al-Helo/AP)

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3. An Iraqi man who volunteered to join the battle against jihadist-led Sunni militants takes part in a training organized by the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), an Iraqi Shiite political party, on June 18, 2014, in the southern city of Basra. Saudi Arabia warned of the risks of a civil war in Iraq with unpredictable consequences for the region, after Sunni militants seized large areas from Shiite-led government forces. (Mohamad Ali Harissi/AFP/Getty Images)

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4. Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr march during a military training in Najaf June 19, 2014. The United States is contemplating talks with its arch-enemy Iran to support the Iraqi government in its battle with Sunni Islamist insurgents who routed Baghdad’s army and seized the north of the country in the past week. (Ahmad Musa/Reuters)

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World Refugee Day 2014

June 20 is World Refugee Day, an opportunity to draw attention to those who have been displaced around the globe. This is a collection of photos documenting a small percentage of the people who have been driven from their home. –Leanne Burden Seidel (21 photos total)
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1. A women and a girl wash at a tap at a temporary displacement camp set up next to a Kurdish checkpoint on June 13 in Kalak, Iraq. Thousands of people have fled Iraq’s second city of Mosul after it was overrun by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) militants. Many have been temporarily housed at various IDP (internally displaced persons) camps around the region including the area close to Erbil, as they hope to enter the safety of the nearby Kurdish region. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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2. An Eritrean asylum seeker looks through a gap of a temporary shelter on the sidewalk in Sanaa, Yemen, June 20. Since April 29, over 200 Eritrean asylum seekers including women and children living on the streets of Sanaa wait to be resettled to a third country. For the first time since the World War II era, the number of people forced from their homes worldwide has surged past 50 million, the United Nations refugee agency said Friday. (Hani Mohammed/Associated Press)

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3. Afghan migrant Rahman Jan Safi, 24, (L) greets asylum-seeker receiving a haircut at their shelter at the harbour in Calais, northern France May 4. Safi fled his home country Afghanistan in 2007 and started his long journey through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, and Italy before finally arriving in France and making his way to Calais. Safi gained a French residency permit and now works for an association known as the “Auberge des Migrants”. The organization helps feed and clothe migrants who are in Calais and who, for the most part, hope to make it across the Channel to England. (Christian Hartmann/Reuters)

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4. A young mother holds her child in her IDP (Internaly Displaced Persons) shelter in the UNMISS camp on June 20 in Juba, South Sudan. The UNMISS will be closing the IDP site and relocating them to a new site in Jebel Area due to the congestion at the current site in Tomping. (CHARLES LOMODONG/AFP/Getty Images)

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Iraq unrest

The fighting continued in Iraq today near a main oil refinery, with government forces trying to stop a week-long attack from members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and others. The Iraqi foreign minister has asked the United States for air strikes against the Sunni militants’ positions but President Obama, in a meeting with leaders of Congress today, said he wanted for now to focus on training Iraq’s security forces and providing equipment. Thousand of displaced civilians have been looking for shelter since the the attacks began. –Lloyd Young (25 photos total)
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1. An image downloaded on June 11 from the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin shows militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waving the trademark Islamists flag after they allegedly seized an Iraqi army checkpoint in the northern Iraqi province of Salahuddin. Jihadists are pushing toward Baghdad on June 12 after capturing a town just hours to the north, as the US mulled air strikes in a bid to bolster Iraq’s collapsing security forces. (AFP/Getty Images)

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2. An image uploaded June 14 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) executing dozens of captured Iraqi security forces members at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province. A major offensive spearheaded by ISIL but also involving supporters of executed dictator Saddam Hussein has overrun all of one province and chunks of three others since it was launched on June 9. (AFP/Getty Images)

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3. Civilian children stand next to a burnt vehicle during clashes between Iraqi security forces and al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the northern Iraq city of Mosul on June 10. Radical Sunni Muslim insurgents seized control of most of Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul early on Tuesday, overrunning a military base and freeing hundreds of prisoners in a spectacular strike against the Shi’ite-led Iraqi government. (Reuters)

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4. Tribal fighters from Ramadi wave the Iraqi flag and shout slogans in support of Iraqi security forces in Kerbala on June 15. The insurgent offensive that has threatened to dismember Iraq spread to the northwest of the country on Sunday, when Sunni militants launched a dawn raid on a town close to the Syrian border, clashing with police and government forces. (Mushtaq Muhammed/Reuters)

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