PHOTOS: Kurdish Female Peshmerga Fighters Take On Islamic State

The Iraqi Kurdistan military, known as the Peshmerga, boast hundreds of female recruits fighting the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

“We are here to serve the Peshmerga,” Hadia Saeed told Rudaw. “When they need us during the hardship we will help them, especially the wounded.”

Another woman told Rudaw she is not scared, “as long as I am with these great comrades.” At least 200 female fighters are in Sinjar to guard the city from ISIS. In June, Rudaw estimated the number at about 500 specially trained female forces in its ranks, though depleted resources following extensive battles with the Islamic State has forced the Kurdish government to limit female recruitment. “The number of female Peshmerga is underrepresented in the military forces, there should be as many female Peshmerga as there are males,” lamented Peshmerga Colonel Nahida Ahmed in July.

“We make no difference between our Peshmerga, whether they are males or females,” stated one male commander. “When we are setting plans, (the female fighters) are usually part of them.”

“Facing off with these well-armed brutes takes guts,” wrote Florian Neuhof for Al-Arabiya. “The women display their courage with none of the bravado and macho posturing that is often found in the trenches that stretch from Kobane to Kirkuk. Instead, they simply go about their duty, or sit together drinking tea, laughing and joking within easy mortar range of the enemy.”


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