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TABQA, Syria — Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, when the peaceful conflict turned into a military one, Kurdish factions have been working for change in Syria. A large number of the fighters in the Kurdish factions have been female, and they have gained considerable experience in leading battles against the Islamic State (IS).
Summary⎙ Print In an interview with Al-Monitor, Kurdish commander Rojda Felat, one of the leaders in the battle to retake Raqqa, shares her experience as a female fighter against the Islamic State.
Rojda - Felat - Commanders - Women - Protection
Rojda Felat, one of the top commanders of the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) who fought groups like Jabhat al-Nusra at Ras al-Ain in 2012 and IS in Kobani, is now one of the leaders of a major campaign against IS — Operation Wrath of the Euphrates in northern Raqqa. The operation is headed by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the YPJ and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with the support of the United States. The inclusion of female fighters is an intentional response to IS members' fear of being killed by women because that would prevent them from entering paradise.
In the city of Tabqa, west of Raqqa, Al-Monitor interviewed Felat about the battle in northern Syria to retake Raqqa, ongoing since November 2016. The text of the interview, edited for clarity, follows:
Al-Monitor - Position - Woman - Operation - Wrath
Al-Monitor: How did you get to this position? Why was a woman chosen to lead Operation Wrath of the Euphrates? Did you face difficulties when you took the position because you were a woman?
Felat: I have never had any problems. In the YPG, there is no difference between women and men, and both sexes can direct campaigns and lead. There are several reasons I was chosen as the leader of the operation, including my experience in previous campaigns against IS, such...
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