(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Under a cloud of black smoke, a group of around a dozen children wearing flimsy sandals have gathered to play. Oil wells around the Iraqi town of Qayyara are still burning, weeks after they were torched by Islamic State militants in an attempt to slow the Iraqi army’s advance. Under the shadow of an oil fire, the children are coated in black soot. “Yes, yes!” they said, coughing, when asked if they were suffering from breathing difficulties because of the smoke. “We are scared of it, the smoke makes it difficult to breathe,” said a 10-year-old girl with green eyes and gold and red sandals caked in dirt. Not far away, an Iraqi soldier fired a few rounds from his Kalashnikov rifle into the air.