The walls are constructed of cinder blocks, steel and concrete. Some have gates for pedestrian traffic. Others evoke the oppressive days of the Berlin Wall — towering concrete panels lined up in a row, and impassable.
The barriers snake through Tuz Khurmatu, turning it into a city of walls.
In years past, walls went up to protect against car bombs. Then Shiite Turkmens erected walls to guard against Islamic State after its resurgence in 2014. Now even after the jihadis have been driven out of the city, the walls still stand, and Tuz Khurmatu remains a flash point with an unstable melange of sects and ethnicities. Once united to fight Islamic State, Kurds, Turkmens and Arabs resumed viewing each other with hostility and suspicion.