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Iraq village now eerie outpost for Kurdish fighters

Displaced Iraqi children who fled Wadi Osaj village take shelter in a village near the Diyala province town of Khaniqin on August 25, 2014Only the scattered voices of Kurdish fighters break the silence in the Iraqi village of Wadi Osaj, where the mud and cement block houses stand empty and locked after residents fled. The village in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, had been a bustling hamlet populated by some 50 Sunni Arab families. Residents of the village fled earlier this month when heavy fighting broke out in the area, fearing both peshmerga shellfire and the prospect of being swallowed into the swathes of territory that IS-led fighters have seized since they launched a sweeping offensive in June. Though the families have only been gone a few weeks, a look through the window of one house in the village reveals it to be eerily empty, as if they have never been lived in at all.

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