By: Adib Abdulmajid
With the outbreak of the ongoing war in Syria, the role of Syrian women has emerged on several levels, in addition to participation in anti-Assad protests. However, for Kurdish women, aside from taking part in civil society’s activities and workshops, they stress their role in the battlefield.
The emergence of the Women Protection Units (YPJ) about two years ago, was considered a turning point in the history of the Syrian revolution.
“Women fighting brutal terrorists of the Islamic State, that’s a scene nobody could miss in the history of the Syrian revolution,” said Hassan Tahir, a Syrian opposition activist. “Kurdish women proved their bravery by combating extremists during the last few months.”
“According to the logic of IS, being killed by men means going to heaven as a martyr, whereas being killed by women means the doors of heaven will not open for you as a jihadist. So IS militants must be quite scared of fighting those brave women; it’s a double burden to fight the YPJ,” Tahir told ARA News.
On Sunday, a Kurdish female fighter and member of the YPJ carried out a suicide bomb attack against militant fighters of the Islamic State (IS/ISIL) in the suburb of the Kurdish-majority border city of Kobane, northern Syria.
This is the first time that a YPJ member blew herself at one of IS positions, which claimed lives of several extremists of the al-Qaeda offshoot group.
Radical fighters of the Islamic State are specialize in suicide bombing attacks, which is considered one of their favoured tactics, and being hit with such an attack, and by a woman, was surprising to many Syrian activists, who posted dozens of supporting comments on social media Sunday.
Kobane is deemed the third largest Kurdish city in Syria, where Kurdish fighters of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) alongside with the YPJ and some rebel groups are in control, fighting against IS ambitions to control the city –near the Turkish border. Tens of thousands of civilians were displaced due to the growing violence in the area, crossing the borders into Turkey in search for a safe haven.
Amongst many other stories of Kurdish women battling IS insurgents is the one of Ceylan Ozalp, a 19-year-old Kurdish female fighter of the YPJ who shot herself dead days ago to avoid being captured by the extremist group.
Ozlap, also known as Diren, was reportedly surrounded by IS militants near the Kurdish city of Kobane during clashes on Friday.
In order to prevent the militants of taking her as a captive, Ozlap used her last bullet on killing herself, after saying “goodbye” to her comrades over the radio.
“We’re not scared of anything…We’ll fight to the last. We’d rather blow ourselves up than be captured by IS,” she said in an interview with the BBC two weeks ago.
“When they see a woman with a gun, they’re so afraid, they begin to shake. They portray themselves as tough guys to the world. But when they see us with our guns they run away. They see a woman as just a small thing. But one of our women is worth a hundred of their men,” Ozalp said.
Hundreds of Syrian Kurdish women have joined the conflict against the Islamic State, with a belief of resisting the most brutal group for the sake of preserving civil peace in their region.
Adib Abdulmajid is a Syrian journalist, member of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and editor-in-chief at the Syrian independent press agency of ARA News.
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