A swirl of smoke, then the screams.

Two men drop to the ground, “blood” squirting from wounds. Orders are barked in Kurdish as Peshmerga soldiers rush to the aid of the fallen.

At this military outpost in Northern Iraq, it’s all a drill run by Canadians, a mock mortar attack to test Peshmerga on their battlefield medicine.

Still, it’s realistic enough, thanks to smoke grenades and special-effects blood that splashes on the would-be rescuers.

Two Canadian special forces soldiers hover over the Peshmerga troops like a watchful teacher, appraising the treatment. “You’re in danger right now,” the Canadian medic warns, urging them to move themselves and the casualties to safer ground, as they’d have to do if this was a real attack.

The exercise drill wraps up and the special forces medic gathers the Peshmerga soldiers around him for a debrief. “Everything went really well. You brought your patients to a safe area. You did the treatments you were supposed to,” he tells them.

This is the face of Canada’s military mission in Northern Iraq where Canadian special operations forces soldiers have been advising and assisting Peshmerga soldiers in their battle against Daesh [ISIS/ISIL.]