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Alternet - October 18, 2019

"A statue in Kobani dedicated to the Kurdish women who fought against Isis. I wonder if it will still be there in a year." - Richard Hall

I was reminded that over the last few years, we’ve heard stories about the bravery of the Kurdish women (members of the YPJ, or Women’s Protection Units) who were fighting ISIS. That was particularly true during the siege of Kobani, which has been described as “one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the campaign against the militant group.” Here is what Newsha Tavakolian learned about the women who fought.

[I]t’s not just the battle against ISIS that brings these young women to a spare military camp in Syria, a half hour away from the front lines…The desire to break free from the macho Middle East was so strong that rural girls volunteered to join the YPJ, where they developed into soldiers ready to put their lives on the line. “In the past, women had various roles in the society, but all those roles were taken from them,” says 18-year-old Saria Zilan. “We are here now to take back the role of women in society.”

As Jen Kirby explained, Bashar al-Assad pulled out of northern Syria in 2012 in order to concentrate his forces on defeating rebels in the rest of the country, creating the self-governing Kurdish territory known as “Rojava.” Assad’s move had the added benefit of providing a disincentive for the Kurds to join with those who were fighting against the regime.

But in 2014, ISIS launched an attack on Kobani, which is part of Rojava, leading to a battle that lasted for the next nine months. The city was effectively demolished, with thousands killed and hundreds of thousands becoming refugees. The statue in the picture above was sculpted by a Kurdish artist from Iraq, Zirak Mira, as a monument to the role of Kurdish female fighters in the war against terrorism. It sits in a part of Kobani that remains in ruins as an open museum to the public. ...
Read full report at Alternet