Rehana, the so-called “poster girl” of the Kurdish battle against Islamic ISIS militants in the crucial Syria-Turkey border city of Kobani, has been captured and beheaded by those same bloodthirsty ISIS fanatics.
Or has she?
While the Kurdish forces have not issued a formal statement one way or the other about Rehana’s well-being, independent Kurdish sources say she is “very much alive.”
While the struggle over Kobani continues, the war moved into the arena of propaganda Monday, after photos circulated via social media claiming to show an ISIS militant holding the severed head of the instantly legendary Kurdish Women’s Defense Unit heroine, who some believe has personally killed more than 100 ISIS combatants in the bloody Kobani conflict.
Known only by her battlefield alias, and also called “Tigress” by the Kurdish forces, Rehana is one of an estimated 10,000 Kurdish women who have fought against ISIS in the battle for Kobani— a six-week conflict in which ISIS forces made significant gains only to be pushed back by U.S. airstrikes supporting a fierce Kurdish resistance.
But on Monday, even as the airstrikes slammed ISIS forces, blowing up a building that served as a militant stronghold and seven ISIS war vehicles, the Islamic radicals staged a new attack on a border crossing, unleashing three separate car bombs and what Kurdish defenders called “non stop” mortar and rocket shelling.
Rehana became the symbol of Kurdish resistance to ISIS, thanks not only to her reported battlefield exploits, but to an instantly-iconic photo, seen above, showing the seemingly demure young woman in combat fatigues with her hair braided into a long ponytail smiling shyly at the camera and flashing a “V for Victory” sign, which could also be a peace sign.
Capturing and killing Rehana would mark a major morale boost for the embattled ISIS militants, and they appeared to have achieved exactly that Monday when a grisly photo of a grinning ISIS militant holding a female head aloft — a head with a long, braided pony tail — circulated via Twitter and then on the web.
While the Inquisitr will not display or link to the gruesome photograph, it can be easily located with a Google search.
But the Kurds say that the photo is a phony.
“‘Rehana’ is very much alive…. #ISIS supporters just trying to lift morale…..Tigress is hunting for more,” tweeted Kurdish journalist Pawan Durani.
Syrian Kurdish reporter Rashad Abdel Qader followed up with a tweet of his own, saying that he has personally verified Rehana’s survival.
— Rashad abdelQader (@RashadAbdlQader) October 27, 2014
Kurdish sources also pointed to a CNN video report that aired on Sunday, focusing on the female Kurdish fighters. In this image from the video, which appears at the 0:07 mark, the woman with a pony tail holding a flag, the sources say, is Rehana herself.
The full video can be viewed below.
Abdel Qader described Rehana as a 25-year-old, third-year law student whose father and uncles have all been killed by ISIS. The female Kurdish fighters have been described as the “backbone” of resistance against the Islamic militants in Kobani.