Black & Blue Skies over Southern Iraq

Black, smokey skies are a harsh way of life for the people of Qayyarah (ca. 60 km south of Mosul) where multiple oil fields have been deliberately set ablaze by ISIS militants. A honeycomb of active landmines in the region prevent an easy solution to the problem. Hundreds of residents here have required medical assistance for exposure to toxic fumes. Before falling under the control of hardline jihadists, Qayyarah (along with its neighbor Najma) used to produce up to 30,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day, or the equivalent of almost 2 millions dollars.