All-Female Brigade of Christian Fighters Boldly Taking on ISIS: 'They're Afraid of Girls'

( [email protected] ) Jan 19, 2016 09:30 AM EST
An all-female brigade of Christian fighters are on the frontlines taking on ISIS in Syria, standing in sharp contrast to the terrorist groups' use of women as sex slaves and suicide bombers.
Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG women fighters stand near a check point in the outskirts of the destroyed Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, Syria. June 20, 2015. Getty Images

An all-female brigade of Christian fighters is on the front lines taking on ISIS in Syria, standing in sharp contrast to the terrorist groups' use of women as sex slaves and suicide bombers.

According to a report from Fox News, the volunteer unit -- known as the "Female Protection Forces of the Land Between the Two Rivers" - consists of Syrian mothers, wives and professionals who refuse to bow to ISIS' twisted ideology.

The women are all devout Christians who speak and pray in Aramaic, the native language of Jesus of Nazareth from the Bible, and are primarily focused on protecting Christian areas.

"I'm a practicing Christian, and thinking about my children makes me stronger and more determined in my fight against Daesh (ISIS)," one fighter named Babylonia told AFP. She added that her husband, also a soldier, encouraged her to leave their children behind to fight for their future, pushing "against the idea that the Syriac woman is good for nothing except housekeeping and make-up."

The report notes that the group is modeled after the after the highly successful female Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). So far the new force is small, with around 50 graduates so far from its training camp in the town of Al-Qahtaniyah, also known as Kabre Hyore in Syriac, and Tirbespi in Kurdish.

Despite its diminutive size, the group has already engaged in battle, most recently participating in the fight to retake the northeastern town of Al-Hol after two years of ISIS rule.

"I was afraid of the noise of cannons firing, but the fear quickly went away," an 18-year-old member of Female Protection Forces of the Land Between the Two Rivers told AFP. "I would love to be on the front line in the fight against the terrorists."

Speaking to the AFP, some women cited what is known as the Sayfo massacres in 1915 of Syriac, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians as reasons for joining the unit.

"We are a community that is oppressed by others," said 18-year-old Ithraa, explaining that the community hopes to prevent "a new massacre like that committed by the Ottomans... when they tried to erase our Christian and Syriac identity".

The rare spectacle of female fighters can be an advantage against ISIS as the terrorist group believes that death at the hand of a female is a one-way ticket to hell.

"They think they're fighting in the name of Islam," 21-year-old Telhelden, a commander in the Women's Protection Units, told CNN . "They believe if someone from Daesh [Isis] is killed by a girl, a Kurdish girl, they won't go to heaven.

"They're afraid of girls."

Last year, the group released a 10,000-word manifesto highlighting the "sedentary" role of women as homemakers, wives and mothers, heavily criticizing Western women and human rights concepts of gender equality. 

However, sources from Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, an undercover group of activists based inside ISIS' Syrian stronghold, told Fox that ISIS recently formed an all-female volunteer suicide bombing squad.

The group revealed that wives of ISIS jihadists lure in the city's females with promises of the "paradise" that awaits them for giving their lives to defend the caliphate.

"The females go through proper training at a camp with weapons and learn how to do a proper suicide bombing," a member of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently told "These are women who choose to do this, women of all ages. Even teenagers."

"The idea that 'everyone is part of our mission' is also part of the terrorizing, that the enemy can be attacked from anywhere at any time by anyone," he said. "ISIS will recruit from any social strata, and using female terrorists in general and suicide bombers in particular is only going to increase."

Kamran Bokhari, senior analyst at Geopolitical Futures and author of "Political Islam in the Age of Democratization," lamented that the phenomenon of female jihadists has been "growing for many years now."

"Females go through the same technical tradecraft with respect to guns and explosives," he said, "and the ideological training is very similar in that they are promised heaven should they carry out their mission."