Samira Leylan, 50, at her home in Bashir village. Bashir was retaken from ISIS in May 2016 and and since then its residents have begun returning home. The frontline with ISIS is still very close, approximately two kilometers.
Samira says: "When ISIS came to our village we walked to Kirkuk. One of my granddaughters died of heat exhaustion and lack of food and one of my sons died defending the village. We left our home for two years. We spent one year in Kirkuk in a house that some people gave us to live in and once the front line moved we left Kirkuk and went to Taza town, which is closer, to live with our relatives there. During those years we didn't have enough clothes, or things to cook with and their were lots of rats. The Hashed [militia] bought us food and gave the children an IV drip. The day it all started my husband had gone to visit the shrines and I was alone baking bread for my family. It was about 8am. There was a lot of shooting in the streets and our house was getting shot. All of the young people were coming out of their houses and making a frontline. I called my son who is a policeman working with the emergency forces in Kirkuk and I asked him to come and save us. When he arrived I gave him the bread I had been baking and he took it to the frontline for the soldiers and his brother. I couldn't think straight. I was out of my mind in panic. We took the car and within two hours ISIS had taken our village. We went to Taza [closest town] but we could see that ISIS was coming very fast so later we left for Kirkuk. When we arrived in Taza people there didn't know what was happening. They asked us what was going on and we told them that ISIS was coming. We left all of our valuables in the house, our money and our gold. When we left I was only thinking about my family and taking care of my children. Before we left the house I went to the farm next to our house and gave the animals some hay. Our house was being shot at but I didn't want the animals