A woman known as “Rehana” has become a hero across the internet as news spread that the Kobani soldier has reportedly killed more than 100 Islamic State terrorists single-handedly.
Rehana became famous in Kurdish Twitter circles after a photo of her giving a peace sign began to circulate on the social network.
— Pawan Durani (@PawanDurani) October 13, 2014
According to the International Business Times, Rehana is a YPJ (Kurdish female Peshmerga) soldier under the command of famed female soldier Mayssa Abdo, who herself has become famous for running the operation to keep the Syrian border town of Kobani out of the hands of the Islamic State. Shortly after this photo of Rehana began to circulate, rumors followed that she had been killed in battle, none of which have been confirmed independently by news sources.
It is estimated that up to 10,000 women fight in the Peshmerga forces, though estimates vary. In an interview with BBC, Col. Nahida Ahmed described their daily training as intensive and noted that many had battle experience even before organizing against the Islamic State in recent months.
The fight to keep Kobani, a border town that would allow for almost complete border access between Syria and Turkey, out of the hands of the Islamic State, has been arduous and bloody. Witnesses that have escaped the town recall streets lined with severed heads and Islamic State terrorists gouging the eyes out of Kurdish civilians. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly claimed that airstrikes by the United States and allies would not be enough to save the city, though without offering any help to those on the ground (instead bombing targets essential to the Kurds).
Despite Erdogan’s claims, however, it appears that the coalition strikes have made a difference, due in large part to the organization of the Kurdish soldiers on the ground. According to Reuters, the Islamic State has had to retreat from a number of Kobani streets to avoid the airstrikes, allowing greater mobility for Kurdish forces.