It is not an easy task to combat the savage and notorious ISIS soldiers who can kill with the bat of an eyelid. These jihadists have no fear and care for no one-men, women, children, old and the young. But, there is something that they fear, if not God- a set of women with arms.
Meet the notorious of the notorious, the women's segment of the Kurdish security forces, striking fear in the hearts of the ISIS. It is the gender underplays a role in the fear. The Islamic State Jihadists do not hesitate in killing defenseless women, but being killed by an armed woman has a lot to lose. It is believed that they would not go to heaven if that happens.
The formation of the Kurdish 'Amazons'
The first official female unit was formed in 1996 when they were stationed against Saddam Hussain's regiment. Given their display of bravery and skill, they are often being compared to Amazons, thus earning them the name Peshmerga's First Cavalry Amazon Battalion.
Col Nahida Ahmed Rashid, their chief, proudly declares that more women are enlisting in the group to fight for their land against the Islamic State jihadists. IN fact, they have now become a part of the frontline strategy.
One of them said,"The jihadists don't like fighting women, because if they're killed by a female, they think they won't go to heaven."
Home and family: Supreme sacrifice is not a sacrifice afterall
While many young girls, even minors get themselves enrolled as their entire families have been destroyed, many have joined out of their will to serve their villages, towns and cities. Although there is a common ideology running across the troops, these women have a greater mission statement- to be liberal. Call it a revolution for freedom, but these women do not hesitate in saying that they are 'liberal' now.
"A woman's life here is restricted to cooking, bearing children and looking after the husbands. They are not even allowed to go out. But women with weapons are respected. Now, you know why (smirks)," says a soldier. "Either we are entirely in or we are entirely out," she explains.
"I believe in a greater cause, which is protecting our families and our cities from the extremists' brutality and dark ideas," she said. "They don't accept having women in leadership positions. They want us to cover ourselves and become housewives to attend to their needs only. They think we have no right to talk and control our lives," said another.
Although the minor entrants are not allowed in the battleground, the seniors carry a spare bullet with themselves to shoot themselves when there is a possibility of being taking captive. "they do a lot of awful things to the women soldiers. It is better to die than be captive," says a soldier.
Killing, not for bloodshed
However, there is a lighter side to these live wires. They cook, they sing, dance and have fun. "Like any sensible human being we do not want bloodshed, but we have to kill for that cause. We want peace and harmony and would not let anyone come between the country and that," said their leader.
But what they lack in numbers, which is compensated by their sheer determination. 19 year old Tiran, however, has strong hopes and a positive outlook. She says,"One kurdish woman equals hundreds of their men. They shake in front of us because they have never seen women with weapons."
Women activists speak of empowerment from within a comfortable zone, but these women exude and exercise that in zones that have not even reached the first level of freedom for women. Fighting side by side with their male counterparts, the Kurdish Amazons are an example in themselves, preserving their land from the ISIS without the help of US fighters.