The person leading the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against ISIS in Kobani is a 40-year-old woman named Meysa Abdo, also known as Narin Afrin. She recently wrote an article, translated in the New York Times, sharing the plight of the fighters in Kobani and urging the rest of the world, especially women, to rally behind their cause:
“Those of us on the front lines are well aware of the Islamic State’s treatment of women. We expect women around the world to help us, because we are fighting for the rights of women everywhere. We do not expect them to come to join our fight here (though we would be proud if any did). But we do ask women to promote our case and to raise awareness of our situation in their own countries, and to pressure their governments to help us.”
Abdo is known as a beautiful, “cultivated, intelligent and phlegmatic” woman who “cares for the mental state of the fighters and takes interest in their problems.” While it may be surprising to some that a woman is leading the Kurdish fighters in a Muslim country, by law women receive the same treatment as male fighters; and there are actually hundreds of Kurdish women fighting against ISIS. They have been trained with SWAT teams and the special forces, and are proud to be fighting against ISIS. One unidentified woman said, “It’s an honor to be part of a modern Muslim country that allows women to defend the homeland.”
While the Kurdish fighters have been successfully defending Kobani to this point, Abdo stresses that their weapons are no match for those of the Islamic State. They need armored vehicles and antitank missiles, among other things; but Turkey will not allow those across their border.
Turkey has resisted letting heavy weapons or volunteer fighters get to the YPG, citing the link between the YPG and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)–which has been waging a guerilla war for autonomy for Turkey’s ethnic Kurds for decades. However, there are also many alleged ties between Turkey and the Islamic State. One jihadist even claimed that ISIS has been able to advance to its current state because of money and support from Turkey, and many Westerners who have joined ISIS have entered Syria through Turkey.
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“There is evidence that Turkish forces have allowed the Islamic State’s men and equipment to move back and forth across the border. But Syrian Kurdish fighters cannot do the same.
“The Turkish government is pursuing an anti-Kurdish policy against the Syrian Kurds, and their priority is to suppress the Kurdish freedom movement in Northern Syria. They want Kobani to fall.”
After pressure from the West and the Kurds in Turkey and Syria, the Turkish government recently allowed some fighters from Iraq (with whom they have a good relationship) to cross through its territory to meet up with the YPG. About 150 peshmerga fighters (professional soldiers from Iraq’s Kurdish region–the name means, “those who confront death”) have crossed the border and joined the Kurds defending Kobani, but they will only be there as temporary reinforcements.
Abdo urges Western governments to “increase their pressure on Turkey to open a corridor for Syrian Kurdish forces and their heavy weapons to reach the defenders of Kobani through the border. We believe that such a corridor, and not only the limited transport of other fighters that Turkey has proposed, should be opened under the supervision of the United Nations.”
The Kurds have no intention of backing down, whether they receive new weapons or not. Abdo proclaims:
“We will fight until the last bullet to save the civilians. It is a fight for all of us, a fight for freedom.”
The fight against ISIS is one that everyone who loves freedom should join. Abdo warns:
“If you don’t help us, they will come for you one day.”
h/t Mad World News
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Photo Credit: youtube.com