North of Iraq, on the frontline with the female soldiers. In their sights the jihadist fighters from the so-called Islamic State. The troop of women Kurdish soldiers have been involved in attacks and when needed have defended Kirkuk.
It is the oil-rich city in the northern region of Iraq where ISIL has been defeated – the city has been re-taken after battles with Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
Euronews correspondent Mohammed Shaikhibrahim spent time at one of the barracks with a troop of Kurdish female soldiers.
They belong to the Kurdish Freedom Party one of several Kurdish-Iranian groups which has taken up arms against the jihadist fighters. Thousands of women soldiers have come from Iran to join the Kurdish Forces in their conflict against ISIL.
“It’s the duty of any human being to fight this enemy – ISIL a terrorist organization. I am here side by side with my brothers and sisters. We are all under the Peshmerga flag and we decided to fight. I want to participate strongly in defending my land, my nation, and my home,” Zohra Zahran Kurdish troop leader told euronews.
The ages of the women in this particular military unit which euronews visited ranged between 18 and 28 years old, while in general for all other units among the Kurdish forces; female ages are between 18 and 40 years old.
All these fighters are volunteers – they receive no pay. One of them explained to our correspondent that serving their own country should be enough.
“I made the choice by my self to come here, a woman stays a women and the man stays a man – there is no big change in our daily life except here we all the same at the front line. I feel so proud to fight here while other men stay at home and do nothing – do not fight against this terrorist group,” she said.
It is clear they are ready to die for the cause. All have been given clear instructions not to be captured by ISIL. They face being cruelly raped by the jihadists who believe their religion gives them the right to do this women soldiers calling them “prisoners of war”.
Our correspondent reported: “Their hands are on the trigger. These women soldiers have here taken the responsibility on their shoulders to fight ISIL in spite of the dangers and the ferocity of the battle. Revenge for other women who have been killed and raped by ISIL give these women the determination to fight until the enemy is completely defeated and they have complete freedom. “