This article originally appeared in Rudaw.
DAYRI, Kurdistan Region – The grave of the woman commonly believed to be the first female Peshmerga has been renovated and was opened on Tuesday in an official ceremony.
Margaret George Shello, an Assyrian Christian, joined the Peshmerga in 1960 and took part in the September Revolution in 1961 that sought to win autonomous rule over Kurdish lands.
George rose in the ranks and was given a leadership role in key battles.
She was killed under unknown circumstances in 1969. Some accuse the Kurdish leadership of assassinating her. Kurdish forces allege that she had a jealous lover whose offer of marriage she rejected.
Her grave is in Dayri, an Assyrian village near Amedi, 110 kilometres northwest of Erbil.
George is known as Dayika Kurdistan, or Mother of Kurdistan.
Her sister has travelled to the Kurdistan Region to participate in the ceremony revealing her renovated grave.
The September (Aylul) Revolution spanned from 1961 to 1975. Peshmerga took control of many towns and cities with the support of Iran and the US. It is estimated there were over 100,000 Peshmerga active in the mountains, a number that has not been exceeded at any other time.
The revolution was brought to an end when Iran and Iraq signed the 1975 Algiers Agreement, settling disputes and crushing the Kurdish rebellion.
Kurds are historically known as a warrior race. Kurdish women fighters in Syria, members of the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), captured global headlines as they fought ISIS.
This article was originally published in Rudaw.