Kurdish Women Join Militias in Syria to Fight al-Qaeda

Militias Won't Accept Islamist System in Kurdistan

When al-Qaeda fighters started invading Syrian Kurdistan over the summer, militias issued a call to arms, urging every able-bodied Kurdish man to take up arms against the foreign invaders. They got lots of men, and surprisingly a lot of women as well.

While women haven’t been publicized as heavily involved in the Syrian civil war, Buzzfeed has a new article detailing the Kurdish women who eagerly joined up, fighting against not only al-Qaeda dominance of Kurdistan, but the al-Qaeda ideology, in which women are second-class citizens.

In the past few months, Kurdish militias, mostly the PYD, have routed al-Qaeda across their territory, ousting them from most of the region and declaring autonomy.

The idea of the autonomy declaration is that Kurdistan will not ally with either the rebels or the government, but instead will rule itself until the war is over. Though al-Qaeda is obviously the one contesting this primarily, other rebel factions have also condemned the declaration as “hostile” to their ambitions, and Turkey is also opposed to anything that increases Kurdish autonomy along their borders.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.