A play by play of the late day and night when I took these pictures, and those of the explosions. Will be using 24h time, so google if you need a conversion.
~1500: extremely large explosions hear in distance. Myself +1 westerner relaxing in our room. Our usually unflappable captain runs in and tells us to get kitted up and ready to go into the mortar shelters. We do.
1540: shell lands ~50m outside our position, in an empty field. We go to ground for around 10 minutes, since we don’t know what it is
1600: DshK trucks pictured arrive, start laying down hate on ISIS that are attacking the friendly hill. Told that there is a large ISIS force, apparently from Til Temer. Told the munition in the field is a 57mm round. Mortars in village ~500m to our East open up in support of hill
1630: second round lands in field. The air sounds like it’s literally splitting when it hits. YPJ higher up grabs the gunner on the YPG DshK and tells him to come with. She’s the one that spotted the tank
1700: first (personal) sighting of tank. Realize the rounds impacting the field are from the tank, not a 57mm. Hollow feeling in stomach. Mortars still going
1730: massive explosion INSIDE friendly base. Picture not taken.
1830: gets dark. really dark. Five static positions fully manned, other non-fortified positions set up. Constant tracer fire going both ways. Flames from mortar tubes look like howitzer fire.
~2100 (exact time unknown, only look at my watch afterwards): grenade detonates 1m away from me, shrapnel absorbed by position. Quick rundown of how this happened and went down:
-ISIS used a large dry riverbed to get inside 200m
-moonless night, so in all black they crawled within grenade throwing range, gunfire masking any noise they made
-first grenade goes off and knocks me down, all others open fire while I get my gun and join
-first mag is dumped blind, over the sandbags, due to panic
-during reload, training finally kicks in and peek over to look for muzzle flashes. Whenever flash is seen, 5-7 bullets at it
-while reloading, one ISIS troop climbs the 1.5m high berm and mag dumps into our position; casualties: 1 YPJ hit in shin
-ISIS screaming “allah ackbar” intensifies after she yells in pain. Mag dump at the general noise and one scream cuts off
-grenade detonates at the entrance to my position; casualties: 1 YPJ took shrapnel to head, arm, and leg. if she hadn’t I would have.
-fighting starts moving further west along the berm (away from my position) take time to ensure the one YPJ girl isn’t bleeding out. She gets evac’d with the rest
2147: fighting mercifully ends. Some people get cycled to other positions, I stay static. Ammo is brought around to refill mags
2200: mortars cease fire
2300: fighting on hill is finished, *muffled ‘allah ackbar’ in the distance*
0530+1: sun finally starts lighting up the ground, put weapon on safe so I don’t blow off my god damn head because I’m numb as hell. The click makes one guy call out to see if it’s a friendly or enemy. Answer with my kurdish name, other westerner speaks up, following is a transcript of the first conversation post-fighting:
Me: Haval Ardem
Amed (westerner): Ardem? You’re still alive buddy?
Me: Yeah…yeah I’m okay.
Amed: I thought you were dead man
Me: Nah, I mean, not yet
0630: kurds drag mattresses from rooms to positions. I am offered (and accept) first shift. Sleep till 0800
So there it is folks, a quick rundown of the shit. There’ll be more to follow later.
“But I just can’t stress how much this means to me. You ask me what I do, what do I make, how much I make, and let me tell you, I do wake up at 3 AM to risk my life for the lives of your family, dragging an attack line into a burning aircraft- gearing up for search and rescue for your grandma that’s trapped in the basement- I make your day better by making sure your cat is down on the ground where it’s supposed to be. How much do I make? Well let me tell you I do enough to make my day better knowing that I could help you at least a bit. It’s rewarding. Very, very rewarding.”
North and South #Korea shoot at each other. #Banksy unveils “Dismaland” it’s a #goof and a #spoof. #JoshDuggar outed as #cheater by #AshleyMadison leak. Proves to be an even bigger #schmuck than before. #Florida gun range to sell #booze, which has absolutely no potential to be a bad idea.