This month, 'Explorer' embeds with writer Neil Shea on the front lines of the battle to keep ISIS out of Kurdistan, a liberal bastion in a region awash with extremism.
with writer Neil Shea (@neilshea13) on the front lines of the battle to keep ISIS out of Kurdistan, a liberal bastion in a region awash with extremism.
The escalating battle against ISIS has dominated world headlines in the wake of the November 2015 attacks in Paris. But for countries neighboring the Islamic State’s Syrian base of operations, the threat has been ongoing for some time. In June 2014, ISIS fighters swept across the Syrian border and tore into Iraq, threatening Kurdistan. The Kurds are an ethnic minority with their own culture and language, spread across the mountainous regions of Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq. Kurdistan is a microcosm of the entire Middle East living side by side. World religions coalesce into a culturally rich, integrated people. This cross-culture balances the preservation of ancient traditions with an aggressive modernization campaign, creating a region where luxury hotels stand next to traditional teahouses.
Over the course of its original 25-year run, Explorer took viewers inside North Korea; on the trail of one of the world’s most dangerous gangs, MS-13; to the gambling dens of Japan’s Yakuza gang; on the hunt for the mysterious Afghan Girl, whose striking eyes mesmerized readers of National Geographic magazine in 1985; and to the heavily guarded warehouses of Brazil’s wild animal trade. The original series was honored with nearly 60 Emmys and hundreds of other awards during its run from 1985 to 2010. Over the course of more than 2,000 films, Explorer took viewers to more than 120 countries, opening a window on hidden parts of the world, unlocking mysteries both ancient and modern and investigating stories of science, nature and culture.
Explorer: Fighting ISIS premieres Sunday, March 6, at 8pm ET/PT on Nat Geo Mundo, in addition to National Geographic Channel in the U.S.