Kurdish female fighters combatting al-Qaeda in Aleppo

Kurdish female fighters of the YPJ in Sheikh Maqsoud district of Aleppo. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

ALEPPO – Dozens of Kurdish female fighters have joined the battlefront in Syria’s northern Aleppo province, especially in the Sheikh Maqsoud district that has been exposed to fierce attacks by Islamist groups led by Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate of Nusra Front.

The Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) are the main Kurdish forces in Syria. Both the YPJ and YPG have joined the ranks of the western -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to combat radical Islamist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Erin Judi, 27, is a Kurdish female fighter and member of the YPJ in Aleppo. Along with dozens of her peers they try to secure the Sheikh Maqsoud district against Islamists’ offensives.

“Attacks by those radical groups, led by al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, have claimed lives of hundreds of innocent civilians. We believe it’s a duty to prevent further bloodshed among innocent people, that’s why I decided to join the battlefront in Sheikh Maqsoud,” she told ARA News. 

There are around 30,000 civilians living in Sheikh Maqsoud which is a predominately Kurdish part of Aleppo city. 

Eyewitnesses told ARA News that the Islamist rebel groups killed civilians in their houses. According to the YPG, the neighbourhood has been continually bombed since November 2015, killing hundreds of civilians.

“Those radical groups are literally conducting an ethnic cleansing against the Kurds in Aleppo. They have been bombing the Sheikh Maqsoud area for months, putting lives of over 30,000 civilians at risk,” the YPJ member Judi said.

“We are still in a defensive position in Sheikh Maqsoud, but if the attacks continue we’ll attack headquarters of those terrorists and we’ll kill them wherever they are,” she added. 

Speaking to ARA News, Simav Khallo, 24, another Kurdish female fighter in Aleppo, said: “Despite the risks, carrying a weapon and defending my people is an honour.”

“When you see that your enemy is actually an enemy to all humanity, you feel proud by fighting them,” she said.

“The Kurdish society in its nature believes in the equality between men and women, so as we participate in politics and social activists we also take part in the military activities with a belief in the objective of this struggle,” Khallo said.

“We won’t allow those terrorists and barbarians to take over our land and deprive our people from their basic rights,” she told ARA News. “Today I fight here in Sheikh Maqsoud district, and once we make victory against those terrorists here I’ll join other battlefronts alongside with my comrades.” 

The Kurds in Sheikh Maqsoud suffer from the absence of many services as a result of the blockade imposed by Islamist rebel groups on their district, mainly by the Nusra Front (al-Qaeda branch in Syria). “These groups are apparently punishing the people of Sheikh Maqsoud for their support to the YPG and YPJ, who are engaged in fighting with Islamist rebels around the city of Aleppo as well,” Kurdish activist Luqman Ismail told ARA News.

Jinan Osman, 21, is another member of the YPJ. She has been fighting in the ranks of the Kurdish female forces in Afrin before joining the Sheikh Maqsoud battlefront. 

“The Kurdish women have proven their bravery by participating in the fight against the most radical groups, such as ISIS and al-Qaeda,” she told ARA News. “We will protect our people and we will eliminate those terrorists since we’re fighting on the right side of history. They try to impose their sick ideologies on the people, while we’re fighting for freedom and coexistence.”

Reporting by: Shero Darwish

Source: ARA News

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