Courageous

The Kurdish female soldiers fighting ISIS: “I like that when we kill them they lose their heaven.”

Kurdish women fighters stand near a check point in Syria. (Ahmet Sik/Getty Images)

When Islamic State fighters stormed the area known as Sinjar, in northwestern Iraq, in 2014, they launched a brutal attack against the Kurdish Yazidi women who lived there. Many were killed and buried in mass graves in the region, while others were kidnapped.

Now, female Kurdish fighters are avenging those deaths. Camped out in the mountains of Sinjar are a group of female fighters with a Kurdish militia, part of the People’s Protection Units, which are fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The women have come from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq to try and rout ISIS from traditionally Kurdish lands. And while they live separately from male soldiers, they fight together on the front lines to great effect: one strict interpretation of Islam that ISIS fighters follow holds that they cannot go to heaven if they are killed by female fighters. The belief fuels the Kurdish female fighters and scares ISIS fighters, the women told The Independent. “I like that when we kill them they lose their heaven. I don’t know how many of them I’ve killed,” a 22-year-old fighter named Haveen said. “It’s not enough. I won’t be happy until they’re all dead”.

An 18-year-old former medical student named Rozaline said she came to Sinjar to kick ISIS out of the region, and to protect Yazidi women. The fighters plan to continue launching attacks against ISIS fighters, some of whom were camped just a few kilometers away, until they leave.

“Kurdish women sing when we go into battle. We know they are cowards,” she said.

Read the full story at The Independent.

Related:

Meet the young Kurdish and Yazidi women training to fight ISIS

Yazidis in the face of rape, enslavement: “We will not die … we will live”

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