Women Proving their Worth In Battle Against Islamic State

  • Amreen Khan
  • Wednesday, June 29, 2016 @ 01:25 PM
  • 8565
Women Proving their Worth In Battle Against Islamic State

A Kurdish female fighter. (Sputnik photo)

Faced with the prospect of its combatants shying away from battle for fear that they would not go ‘haven’ if killed by women,  the Islamic State (IS) has issued a new directive that they would still be considered ‘martyrs’ if felled by women soldiers’ bullets.

News of the new directive surfaced in the Syrian and Russian media last week, reportedly issued by the self-proclaimed Caliph of Daesh, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, after his fighters refused to confront armed women soldiers of the Syrian Army and women members of militias in Iraq and Syria.

The general belief in the IS ranks is that they would go to haven if martyred in battle but this does not apply to being killed by women for the latter are considered weak to be protected or enslaved depending upon whose they are on.

Women Proving their Worth In Battle Against Islamic State
Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG women fighters stand near a check point in the outskirts of the destroyed Syrian town of Kobane.

The IS imposes its brutal ideology through an especially created vice squad, the Hisba, whose job is to ensure men and women follow the Islamic dress code and other practices in strict accordance with the Sharia law. More women than men are the receiving end of its ideological whip as they have to wear the head-to-toe dress at all times and cannot be seen in public without the company of a male who must be a close relative.

However, recent setbacks in battle have seen members of the Hisba being sent to the frontlines as regular fighters are being killed, a Reuters report said from Syria after talking  to people who escaped as well as Iraqi and Kurdish military and intelligence officials. That means there are fewer militants to enforce the group's draconian rules and dress code, the report said.

Much to the chagrin of the IS, women are increasingly being seen not just as soldiers as also as battlefield commanders guiding their male subordinates in the fight against the hard-line Islamists.

Women Proving their Worth In Battle Against Islamic State
Syriac Christian women, members of the battalion called the “Female Protection Forces of the Land Between the Two Rivers” at their camp in the town of al-Qahtaniyah, near the Syrian-Turkish border. (AFP Photo)

Militias such as the People's Protection Units (YPG) – the paramilitary wing of Syria's Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), YBS - an offshoot of YPG, Kurdish Women’s Protection Unit (YPJ) and “Female Protection Forces of the Land between the Two Rivers” — the area between the Tigris and Euphrates, are teaming with women eager to prove their worth against IS. The groups mostly consist of Assyrian, Arab, and women from other parts of the Arab world.

As reported by Sputnik, female volunteer fighters in Iraq and Syria are fighting really well, so the Daesh leader had no choice but to adjust his own ideology, to bring back the enthusiasm to the militants.

“They are so scared of us! If we kill them they can’t go to heaven,” said Haveen, a 22-year-old fighter, in a new report on female anti-Islamic State fighters published by the UK Independent. “It makes us laugh… We make loud calls of happiness when we see them to let them know we are coming. That’s when they become cowards”.

Haveen, a Yazidi woman from Sinjar mountain, located in northwestern was trained by YPG.

Women Proving their Worth In Battle Against Islamic State
A cadet of the Damascus military academy for women learns how to throw hand grenades. (Sputnik photo)

Hasiba Nouzad, a Turkish Kurdish woman by birth, a commander of the women's division squad called Hezi-Agri (The Power of Fire) chose to stay back while her husband who dint want to fight, migrated to Germany .

“Whether I'll go back to him? I do not know, because I do not know for how long I will fight. First we destroy Daesh and then we shall see,” Hasiba told Sputnik.

Last August, Yazidi singer Xate Shingali formed an all-female brigade. She received permission from the Kurdish president to form the “Sun Girls” battalion on July 2. More than 123 women between 17 and 30 signed up to battle the brutal terrorists. The male Kurdish fighters train the women with AK-47s.

However, these military units have a set of rules chalked out with a main agenda in mind – drive out ISIS. The women fighters live in separate quarters from the men, and romantic relationships are strictly forbidden. “We live separately but that’s the only difference,” Haveen, YPG trainer says. “On the frontline we are all the same”.