Huddled in the back of a van, Rebin Pishtiwan carefully scans one yellowed page after another, as part of his mission to digitize historic Kurdish books at risk of disappearing.

Seen as the world's largest stateless people, the Kurds are an ethnic group of between 25 million and 35 million mostly spread across modern day Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

In Iraq, the Kurds are a sizeable minority who have been persecuted, with thousands killed under the rule of late dictator Saddam Hussein and many of their historic documents lost or destroyed.