Military and War 15 June 2015 146 40189
The town of Serekaniye in Syria is the last major town bordering the “Islamic State”. The mainly Kurdish local population is determined to fight the murderous ISIS and prevent them from entering their town. The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) were formed after the Syrian Army's attempts to combat the jihadist threat failed. Among its fighters are young women, who chose to defend themselves and their families from the belligerent invaders. RTD visits a YPJ female training camp to learn about these courageous young women and to see how they train to face the enemy.
Controlling vast areas of land in Syria and Iraq, and overseeing over 6 million people, ISIS is the single largest and most dangerous terrorist organization in the Middle East. After the Syrian Army failed to protect its citizens against the threat, the people were left with no one to defend them. In 2012, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) stepped up to the cause. Within these civilian armed forces is the YPJ, an all-women military unit.
The women who join YPJ are varied. Coming from the typically poorer regions and families in the areas, girls as young as 16 join the group in order to fight for their country. Either with or without the permission of their families, some girls travel from as far away as neighboring Turkey in order to become YPJ fighters. There is only one barring requirement for new inductees, that they be unmarried.
The reasons for these women to enlist in YPJ vary. Some are simply fighting for their country, while others are more idealistic. Such sentiments as equal rights, religious freedom, and a call for democracy can be heard throughout the make-shift training camp for new recruits.
YPJ volunteers explain that ISIS fears them, as in that organization, death by a woman is said to send a militant straight to hell. So these women and girls leave their families and villages to fight for their land and their freedom.