The two brothers woke soon after sunrise on top of a rectangular water tank. They had spent the night in the remains of a small castle, the only functioning structure remaining on a property that, like so many others, had been bought by Saddam Hussein's government after he came to power in 1979, and repurposed as an army outpost and prison.
Nassar, 37, and Saido Rasho, 30, are part of the Yazidi community who fled their homes in Sinjar from the Islamic State (IS) militants advancing on their villages. The western side of Mount Sinjar falls just 13 miles shy of the Syrian border and it was there that Kurdish Peshmerga and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) forces fought off IS fighters in order to create a safe passage for many of the tens of thousands of Yazidis to come down off the mountain, where they had been stranded since Aug. 3. From there they would cross into Syrian territory and then loop back up and around to the north to the border crossing with Iraq at Peshkhabor. More than 80,000 Yazidis have reportedly taken this route, most headed to the Kurdish province of Dahuk.
After crossing the border into the relative safety of the Kurdish north of Iraq, an extended Yazidi family made home in the ruins of an abandoned compound and its grounds in the border area of Peshkhabour. It was only a little more than half a mile from the bridge that delivered so many thousands of Yazidis to the relative safety of the Kurdish region of Iraq, that the Rasho brothers led their family to the ruined castle cum prison.
While on assignment for Foreign Policy, photojournalist Andrew Quilty spent Friday with these two men, their wives, and the eight children between them (as well as a few dozen others from their extended family), who had been sheltering in the grounds of the compound for nearly a week. By comparison this family was lucky. They only had one cousin that they knew to be missing while another man spoken to by Foreign Policy, Farman Khalif, also from Sinjar, had lost 10 family members, one of whom, an infant, had died on the mountain.
Above, Zene Hasin (who did not know her age) holds one of her grandchildren at the entrance to the room where she, her husband Qasim Smo, 67, her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren have made their bedroom for nearly a week in the abandoned ruins near the Iraq-Syria border.