Kurdish female fighters, part of the Women’s Protection Groups (YPJ) are marching on ISIS in the Kurdish regions of Syria. These women, in tandem with other Syrian Kurdish military forces, including the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG), are pushing west from Al Hasakah, working to repel Islamic State militants from the thin strip of land ISIS controls along the border of Syria and Turkey.
Kurdish Women on the Front Lines
The Independent recently published an article featuring interviews with Kurdish women fighting on the front lines in the Kurdish regions of Syria. In these interviews, the women clearly state why they are fighting against ISIS. In the words of Nujaan, a 27 year old soldier who has been fighting for four years:
Look at Shingal [in Iraq] where they raped the women and massacred the men. It is a matter of honour to defend ourselves first, and then our families and lands.
Nujaan and other Kurdish women are moving with Syrian Kurds to cut off the Islamic State’s control of a border crossing in Tal Abyad. Kurdish forces in the west, near Kobani, are advancing east on the same position and hope to isolate ISIS in a pincer movement.
Only Forces Pushing Back ISIS in Kurdish Regions of Syria
To date, the YPJ and YPG are the only groups that have been successful in repelling ISIS in Syria. That’s not to say they haven’t had help — US-led coalition airstrikes have been keeping ISIS advances at bay.
When the YPJ and YPG rolled back ISIS from Kobani, they were able to do so as a result of significant help from US-led coalition airstrikes. In a recent statement, the Department of Defense said that airstrikes were hitting ISIS targets near Al Hasakah.[Read more at The Independent]