I can’t believe that it was just over a year ago that I was on frontline against Islamic State in both Syria and northern Iraq making a documentary (Fighting IS: Big Phil’s War) that was shown on Sky Atlantic.

I’ll be telling a few more stories from that trip but this week. For now I want to share some of the Intel I picked up when I was near Mosul twelve months ago.

I spent a lot of time with the Kurdish Peshmerga – the guerrilla fighters who were defending their territory against IS.

A lot of them were just young kids who were poorly equipped and badly trained (if you watch the film you’ll see me giving a run through of the basics that you and I take for granted).

I also got to meet a lot of old pros who had done their fair share not only against IS, but against Saddam when he had been in charge.

Mosul Dam, Image courtesy of AP

They took me up to Mosul Dam where there had been fierce fighting which lead to the position changing hands in August 2014.

The loss of the dam to IS put the fear of God in everyone because if IS had blown the dam, a sixty foot high wall of water would have poured out and smashed towns and villages for dozens of miles.