Arin Mirkan was a female Kurdish soldier who found herself surrounded by ISIS troops, but rather than surrender, she decided to detonate an explosive, killing herself and a number of enemy soldiers.
Mirkan was fighting near the embattled Syrian town of Kobane, which is falling under the control of ISIS. As the jihadists moved in to capture the woman, she instead set off an explosive device that killed her and an unspecified number of militants.
“The operation caused deaths, but there is no confirmed number,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Rahman said it was the first instance of a female Kurdish soldier carrying out a suicide bombing against ISIS, which has used the tactic many times in the past.
ISIS militants have been making their way toward Kobane, the third largest Kurdish town in Syria, for the last several weeks. The militant group has been cementing its grip on the Kurdish region along the Syria-Turkey border, drawing a response from Kurdish militant groups.
ISIS has gotten so close to the the town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, that more than 186,000 people have fled across the border into Turkey. The group’s progress has also been slowed by a series of airstrikes led by the United States.
But there are still many difficulties. A local Koban official, Idris Nahsen, said ISIS fighters have grown continually closer to the town’s border, and that air strikes have not stopped them entirely. Nahsen added that there is a lack of coordination between the coalition of nations fighting ISIS and the Kurdish fighters on the ground.
Though initial reports had not named the Kurdish soldier who conducted the suicide bombing, she was identified on social media as Arin Mirkan. Other sources added that she is a mother with two young children.
Some have bristled at the idea of calling Arin Mirkan a suicide bomber. The Kurdish female fighter was reportedly close to falling into the hands of ISIS, which has been known to torture and behead captured soldiers.