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From Yazan’s phone. Yazan was born in 1981. His father fled Iraq after trying to assassinate Saddam and he grew up in Damascus, with the sons of the regime elite, then studied management in the UK. His wife sent him this picture of his daughter on his birthday. They live in Lebanon while he leads the fight against ISIS from his base in Tikrit, which was ruled first by al-Qaeda, and then by ISIS, before he and his men liberated it. Yazan sees this picture as a reminder that his real life is in a time of peace, not in a time of war. In a past life he owned and ran a boutique hotel in the old city of Damascus with almost perfect Lonely Planet ratings and a Hotel of the Year award from Tripadvisor where he hosted people like David Guetta and the CEO of Visa. In another previous life, which overlaps with his life as a hotel owner, he was on the American and Interpol wanted lists for his alleged activities in the Iraqi resistance against the American occupation of Iraq. He was sentenced by an Iraqi court, in absentia, for fraud, terrorism, and material support of terrorism, charges that were subsequently annulled. In 2017, the American military supported him for the offensive that he lead to liberate the town where he was born, Shirqat, which lies near the ruins of Assur,the historical capital of the Assyrian Kingdom. Yazan, Irak, 2016
Matthias Bruggmann

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