At the start of the Iraq War in 2003, over 600 journalists and photographers are given permission by the US government to follow the conflict as embedded reporters.
Photographer Ashley Gilbertson is working for The New York Times when he enters the city of Fallujah with a US marine battalion.
Fallujah, 40 miles outside Baghdad, would be the deadliest battle the marines would fight since the Vietnam War.
Just over a week after entering the city, a small group of them is ordered to escort Ashley on a recce of a local minaret – what happens next will change their lives forever.
UK viewers can watch ‘Once Upon a Time in Iraq: Episode 3’ on Monday 27 July at 21:00 BST on BBC Two and the full series on BBC iPlayer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08kr4ws
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In This Story: Iraq
Iraq has a coastline measuring 58 km (36 miles) on the northern Persian Gulf and encompasses the Mesopotamian Alluvial Plain, the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run south through Iraq and into the Shatt al-Arab near the Persian Gulf. These rivers provide Iraq with significant amounts of fertile land. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, historically known as Mesopotamia, is often referred to as the cradle of civilisation.
Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of 19 governorates, four of which make up the autonomous Kurdistan Region. Disputes over the sovereignty of Kurdistan Region continue.
Iraq is a founding member of the UN as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF.
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In This Story: New York Times
The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851 and nicknamed “the Gray Lady”, the Times has long been regarded within the industry as a national “newspaper of record”.