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Manbij – Zainab Ali was the first Arab woman to join the Asayish police in Syria’s northern Manbij city. Her unprecedented step is considered revolutionary in this conservative community.
Ali says she joined the Asayish forces to fight local Arab traditions, which she believes would confine her to a single role: a wife kept indoors.
“I was proud to join the Asayish forces, especially after suffering a lot of oppression in my private life. Being a part of those forces gives me the opportunity to protect other women in my society and fight for their rights,” Ali told ARA News.
“Before the liberation of Manbij, women were extremely oppressed. However, now women’s rights are a priority for the local administration,” Ali added.
More than 50 women have joined the recently established Manbij Asayish. The Asayish police were first established in the canton administrations which constitute Northern Syria – Rojava (NSR).
Interest in the new police force is increasing. Arab women in Manbij view the Kurdish women fighting for the NSR as deeply symbolic.
“Now we have more equality between men and women. This was our main demand,” Fatima Khalaf, a member of the Manbij Traffic Police, told ARA News.
When ARA News visited the local Asayish precinct, women were performing different functions in various positions. Some were conducting investigations while others were dismantling explosives left behind by the Islamic State (ISIS). Several held supervisory roles.
When ISIS was in control of Manbij, their jihadists developed an infamous reputation for the brutal and degrading way they interacted with local women. In reaction, dozens of women rushed out of their homes to greet advancing Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in August.
Many of those women and now involved in day-to-day running of the city. Women now have the opportunity to defend and administer their city, working side by side with men.
“Under ISIS, women in Manbij have suffered a lot. We had no basic rights. Women had to stay indoors. Now the situation is completely different. Every woman has the right to criticise and actively participate in the society,” Fatima told ARA News. “I feel free of all the traditional constraints now.”
Reporting by: Enwer Omar | Source: ARA News
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