ISIS systematically kidnaps girls and sells them into sexual slavery. Those who have escaped describe horrific treatment at the hands of jihadists. And the terrorists justify their acts as virtuous in the eyes of God. Now, an all-female unit of Kurdish fighters is vowing revenge.
The fighters are tough and young and determined to kill anyone from ISIS who crosses through their territory. Speaking to CNN, one member of the all-female unit, a 20-year-old named Telhelden, doesn’t believe that the terrorists fight in the name of Islam.
“And they believe if someone from Daesh is killed by a girl, a Kurdish girl, they won’t go to heaven. So they’re afraid of girls.”
Her name means revenge.
The all-female unit is on the frontlines in the war against ISIS. They occupy a forward position south of Hasakeh in eastern Syria. Efelyn, 20, said the terrorists don’t stand a chance if one of their jihadists comes within her sights.
“We won’t leave one of them alive,” she promised.
The all-female unit is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is a coalition of Kurdish, Arab, and Assyrian fighters. They are under the command of Lewand Rojava, who used to be in the construction business and is now in the business of taking down ISIS.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Defense Department pledged additional forces to help with ground offensives in Syria, the Christian Post reported. This is a relief to Rojava and other commanders, who desperately want help from the U.S.-led coalition.
“The assistance we’ve received has been ammunition for kalashnikov, for heavy machine guns, for mortars, but we haven’t received any weapons,” Rojava said.
His forces, including the all-female unit, recently pushed ISIS out of a town called el Hool. Islamic State was there for a year and signs of that harsh rule still remain. The town’s Arab residents haven’t returned; some fled, others joined the terror group. One of these inhabitants, a shepherd named Ghassan, stuck around to tend to his flock and recalled what it was like living under ISIS’ watchful eye.
“You couldn’t do anything. Smoking was forbidden. Women had to be completely covered. You couldn’t go anywhere without permission.”
And one can be certain that the all-female unit will do its best to rid the country of ISIS, a group that has unleashed unspeakable crimes against humanity and taken responsibility for acts of terror across the world. The Kurds’ decision to staff an all-female unit with determined fighters is being called a brave move.
The “gentler sex” has suffered particular cruelty under the ISIS regime, and systematic revenge seems rather fitting for these female fighters. A PRI report this summer detailed the atrocities committed against women by men from conservative societies, who are prohibited from enjoying casual sex or marrying unless they’re wealthy.
The free availability of sex is often used as a recruitment tool, to hold and govern territory, and to fund operations. Captured women are auctioned off or promised to recruits in a deeply rooted system of sex slavery bound by notarized contracts recognized by an ISIS-run court, explained New York Times correspondent Rukmini Callimachi.
ISIS has been particularly cruel to women in the Yazidi religious minority, with thousands estimated in captivity. The women lucky enough to escape describe their torture, which the terror group justifies with passages from the Koran, Callimachi recounted.
“It’s been a really long time since I’ve done interviews this dark. It’s absolutely crushing what has happened to them. They were treated like — I don’t even want to say animals because animals aren’t treated this way. They were treated like nothing. The fact that there is a theological justification for what was done to them, I think that’s what they and I find most disturbing about this. They were told over and over again, ‘What we are doing to you is halal, what we are doing to you is allowed, and is not just allowed, but it is seen as good and virtuous in the eyes of God.”
[Photo via YouTube/CNN]