Syria Now Briefing: Airstrikes, Women and Extreme Islamic Groups
Felix Cordova, Sara Knuth·
ISIS enslaved thousands of Yazidi women
In recent news, ISIS has taken the spotlight, but there is still so much to learn about this group. Since August of last year, women have been abducted from around Northern Iraq and there are thousands of women who have been unaccounted for, and recent reports are showing that ISIS is to blame. Interviews with militants, freed slaves and prisoners have revealed that these disappearances have been from ISIS members kidnapping these women and enslaving them.
These women are transported to nearby “farms” where they are sedated and then tied up, until they are sold. They are also given away to new ISIS members as a gift.
Northern Iraq; thousands of men were killed in early abductions
The other half of ISIS story begins with the earlier seizure of cities around Northern Iraq. ISIS will take over the city, tie up all of the males that are over 10 years of age and then they execute them in the middle of the city. The young males, who are under 10 years old, are then put into camps for training and all of the women are used as wives. Their process is similar to the actions of the LRA, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda and the number of members is getting strikingly close in almost half the time it took the LRA to build steam. The LRA formed in 1987 and ISIS formed in 1999.
In an effort to lend help to Syria and the Kurdish YPG, the U.S. has ordered over 135 air strikes against the Islamic State, killing roughly about 550 ISIS and al-Nursa Front militants, along with about 30 civilians. Though there have been civilian casualties, the U.S. is planning on continued airstrikes until they see fit for a stoppage. As ISIS and al-Nursa have moved forward with attacks on cities in Syria, over 200,000 civilians have been forced out of there homes, to the nearby Turkey. The battle in the Northern Syrian area is long from over, as the opposition is continuing to move forward, instead of being halted. As the atmosphere grows tense, more forces will be added to the aid for Syria to defend its territory.
When Islamic women feel isolated by the West, they turn to ISIS and al-Nursa. The terrorist groups have been recruiting Western women to join their ranks with tactics that make life with the group seem highly idealized. Women are, in general, joining the groups either to marry fighters or to become part of a new and seemingly improved Islamic state. The Western women who are joining ISIS and al-Nursa feel secluded by their governments, while ISIS and al-Nursa seem accepting.
In the past week, four women from Western countries were caught trying to enter Syria and Iraq. Three of the women were teenagers from Denver. One woman was from London.
Over 7,000 women have joined the Women’s Protection Unit, or the YPJ. The unit was established in 2012 to fight against Islamic militants, who have taken control of large parts of Syria and Iraq. The women represent a variety of age groups but the majority them are still relatively young. A day in the life of a YPJ woman is a demanding series of training, which consist of classroom instruction and physical drills. Most of the women are unmarried and have instead embraced a life of fighting against ISIS and al-Nursa.
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