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The Dispirited Descent of Turkish Rebel Kurds in Iraq

Sunrise came to the women’s camp in shafts of white light through woven roofs, but Aristan Manzur slept past 10. She had a fever again, and fluid blocked the air in her lungs. She woke and walked slowly down a rocky path to the stream for a breakfast of tea, cream-filled cookies and cigarettes. Soon she hiked back to her bed of dusty blankets to sleep. Manzur, 21, had trained to become a Kurdish guerrilla leader since she was 10. Her group, formerly known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, but renamed the People’s Congress of Kurdistan, or Kongra-Gel, fought the Turkish government in a 15-year civil war that left 30,000 people dead. But in 1999, the PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, was captured, and the guerrillas retreated to these stony mountain passes of northern Iraq. Full Story

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