USA. Aurora, Illinois. 2015.   Sham Al Hajali at her engagement party.  The Al Hajali’s are part of the small wave of 2,200 Syrian Refugees of the civil war who have been granted asylum in the United States.  Their son, Wasseem, was initially granted asylum but his application has been put on indefinite hold.   Father Mahmud, daughter Sham and twin 17-year old sons Ahmad and Mohamed work long hours at minimum wage to make ends meet. © Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos

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IRAQ. Nineveh governorate. Mosul. 2006. Two teenage boys, one of whom has an American flag stitched into his sweater, watch as an American patrol passes at dusk. 

“Three years after the invasion, passing patrols would receive a limited range of responses from Iraqis. Sometimes there would be a studied lack of acknowledgement, or perhaps an angry scowl and shouted words, or just a cryptic, masked expression. Only in Kurdish areas or occasionally among children hoping for candy or soccer balls would U.S. soldiers receive smiles or waves.  

The patrol had progressed the same way as most others. Gunshots early on led to a frantic, frustrated search for the gunmen, who quickly melted back into the population. From there a tip was given about a weapons cache buried in an abandoned yard, but a search turned up nothing. The remaining hours of the patrol concluded in a wary walk through the old town of Mûsilê, the soldiers scanning all possible points of attack and occasionally engaging the local populace with questions regarding their needs and frustrations, which were always many and un-resolvable with the tools the Americans had on hand.”

Photograph: Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos