Young members of the Baghdad Rowing Club practice on the river Tigris, close to the University of Mustansiriyah in the Iraqi capital. Alice Fordham/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Alice Fordham/NPR

An Iraqi Christian prays inside a shrine on the grounds of the Mazar Mar Eillia Catholic Church in Irbil, in northern Iraq. Irbil has become home to hundreds of Iraqi Christians who fled their homes as the Islamic State advanced earlier this year. Matt Cardy/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Iraqi Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani speaks with the media at Mount Sinjar, in the town of Sinjar, on Sunday. Barzani was visiting an area that was recently retaken from ISIS militants. STRINGER/IRAQ/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption STRINGER/IRAQ/Reuters/Landov

More than 4,000 officers of the Nineveh province security force are based in an isolated training camp in northern Iraq. Their aim is retaking ISIS-controlled Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. Deborah Amos/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Deborah Amos/NPR

The Iraqi town of Halabja is dominated by Kurds, the group that has been fighting the Islamic State in northern Iraq. However, some Kurdish residents have been slipping away to join the Islamic State. Yahya Ahmad/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Yahya Ahmad/Reuters/Landov

Many Yazidis, like the ones shown here, managed to flee the onslaught of the so-called Islamic State and made their way to relative safety, like this camp near the northern Iraqi border crossing of Zakho. However, some 5,000 Yazidis, many of them women, are still being held hostage by the Islamic State. EPA/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption EPA/Landov

Cooperative captives conduct afternoon prayers inside a communal cellblock at Camp 6 last month at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Six long-time detainees of the prison have been transferred to Uruguay. Walter Michot/MCT/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Walter Michot/MCT/Landov

Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari announced Tuesday that the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan region have started implementing a deal under which Baghdad resumes funding Kurdish civil servant salaries in return for a share of Kurdish oil exports. Ali Abbas/EPA /LANDOV hide caption

itoggle caption Ali Abbas/EPA /LANDOV

An Iranian national shops at a popular market in the holy Iraqi Shiite city of Najaf. Recently, the city — where millions of international pilgrims visit every year — has been spared the worst of Iraq's violence. Haidar Hamdani /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Haidar Hamdani /AFP/Getty Images

An Iraqi child, whose family fled from Islamic State violence in the northern city of Mosul, stands outside a tent that serves as a school in the southern city of Najaf on Sunday. Some 2 million Iraqis have been driven from their homes by fighting this year. Alaa Al-Marjani /Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Alaa Al-Marjani /Reuters/Landov

Journalist James Foley was killed by the so-called Islamic State in August of this year. His mother, Diane Foley, says the U.S. government never reached out to tell her that her son was dead. Marko Drobnjakovic/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Marko Drobnjakovic/AP

Sunni tribesmen train on the outskirts of Ramadi, Iraq, on Nov. 16. Legislation authorizing a force of Sunni fighters drawn from Anbar province itself — modeled on the U.S. National Guard — has yet to be passed. Ali al-Mashhadani/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Ali al-Mashhadani/Reuters/Landov