Iraqi Kurdish soldiers, or peshmerga, patrol an area in the recently recaptured town of Zumar, near Mosul in northern Iraq on Oct. 29. When the Islamic State captured the town in August, the Kurds fled. Now that the Kurds are in control, the Arabs are all gone. STR/EPA /LANDOV hide caption

itoggle caption STR/EPA /LANDOV

Aza Betwata (left) and his brother Mirwan (center) left Holland to join the Kurdish peshmerga fighting against ISIS militants in northern Iraq. Though the brothers come from a family of fighters, Aza had just two days of training — his brother must show him how to strip and clean his rifle. Alice Fordham/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Alice Fordham/NPR

A family passes through Maktab Khaled in northern Iraq, the last Kurdish checkpoint before they make their way to Kirkuk. ISIS-controlled territory lies less than a mile away. Leila Fadel/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Leila Fadel/NPR

Alleged Islamic State militants stand next to an ISIS flag atop a hill in the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, called Kobane by the Kurds, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border in Suruc, Turkey, on Monday. Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in their northern Syrian stronghold, Raqqa. Uncredited/AP/Raqqa Media Center hide caption

itoggle caption Uncredited/AP/Raqqa Media Center

In this image made through a window of the Oval Office, President Obama speaks on the phone to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Wednesday. Charles Dharapak/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Charles Dharapak/AP

Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Mughdeed talks to the men he commands to protect the Mosul dam, a critical piece of infrastructure that supplies water and electricity. The dam recently fell to the Islamic State in Iraq, but Kurdish forces say they've retaken it, a claim that could not be verified. Alice Fordham/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Alice Fordham/NPR