The Courageous Women Of Kobani: How A Soccer Match Sparked A Civil War And Changed The Fate Of Women In Syria
The battle of Kobani was one of the most intense conflicts in the Middle East, with ISIS forces surrounding the northern Syrian city.
But there was brave resistance–the “daughters” of Kobani, a militia led entirely by women, wouldn’t back down.
These brave fighters took to the frontlines and fought alongside men to help take back Raqqa.
In their fight against oppression and violence, they risked both their lives and reputations.
They showed that you can stand up to ISIS without reliance on traditional power structures.
Arin Mirkan is a standout figure in this story; she strapped a grenade to her waist and charged an oncoming ISIS tank despite orders from leadership to withdraw from battle.
There were many others like her who chose to stay and fight for what they believed in.
The Daughters of Kobani is filled with stories about these women’s remarkable courage and bravery.
These stories tell us about the narrative strength of women who fight against Daesh (ISIS) as well as all forms of misogyny, structural oppression, and sexual violence found in many parts of the world today.
Kurdish Soccer Match Sparked Uprising And Ultimately Broader Civil War In Syria
The Syrian civil war has been one of the most devastating and divisive conflicts in recent history.
It exposed deep-seated divisions between ethnic and religious factions, while polarizing the whole nation.
Beginning with a soccer match between two rival clubs in Qamishli that turned violent when police opened fire on unarmed Kurdish supporters, it soon became apparent that there was a great deal of animosity towards the Syrian regime led by Bashar al-Assad.
This tension continued to rise as young protesters held peaceful demonstrations against Assad’s rule, only to be met with violence from his forces.
These events spurred the Kurds, who felt they were being ignored and marginalized by the government, to take up arms and form militias called People’s Protection Units.
The YPG united Kurds in Syria’s majority-Kurdish northeast regions with the primary goal of protecting their autonomy from external attack.
At the same time, Kurds had good reason to fear Islamic extremism that spread amid anti-Assad rebels – something these fighters sought to protect against by fighting for neither Assad nor his opponents.
Despite all this, it seemed like Syrians would never work together to create a unified nation unless some kind of resolution could be achieved during peace negotiations.
Yet, this only served to further emphasize how divided Syria already was as its people attempted to fight for what they believed in but found themselves torn apart due to their conflicting interests.
Fighting For Women’S Rights: How The People’S Protection Units Defeated Isis And Advocated For Equality
ISIS and the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, were engaged in more than a physical battle in Iraq and Syria.
It was an ideological struggle between two fundamentally different worldviews.
ISIS embraced a strict interpretation of Islam and their ultimate goal was to revive the Islamic empire of centuries past.
To achieve this, they enforced extreme Sharia law that included oppressive measures against women and other religious minorities.
Conversely, the Kurds and their associated political group, The Democratic Union Party (led by Abdullah Öcalan) championed equal rights for women, economic justice, and Kurdish independence from Turkey’s rule.
They believed that true freedom could only exist if there is equality between men and women in society.
In addition to this foundational belief system, they held al-Assad’s aggression in the early 2000s accountable which then forced them to create the YPG organization for self-protection.
It’s clear that these two forces had differing ideologies when it comes to what kind of world should be achieved; one oppressive while the other striving for equality and justice.
In this way, we can understand more clearly why it took so long for peace to be restored as both parties sought to wage war on one another based on their respective beliefs in order to reach dominance over each other’s view of what should be established in Iraq and Syria overall.
The Women Of The Ypg And Ypj: Dark Times, Stronger Voices
Four Kurdish women have become symbols of brave resistance in the fight for autonomy from ISIS.
Azeema and her childhood friend Rojda, Nowruz, and Znarin all chose to take up arms when Syrian occupation forced them into battle in 2013.
Azeema, who had been raised on Öcalan’s teachings by her father, feared the fate that awaited her sister who had just gotten engaged.
At only 13 years old she decided right then to never marry – an injustice Azeema felt driven to challenge and combat.
Rojda was similarly driven despite a much calmer demeanor.
With her cousin one summer she refused to stop playing soccer in defiance of her deeply conservative uncle who called it haram (forbidden) for girls to play the sport.
Her response was adamant: “Soccer is for everyone”.
Nowruz remembered the warning of her strong-willed mother forced into an arranged marriage, telling Nowruz not to rely on others for her future – a sentiment that would shape Nowruz’s life journey.
Although the dream of studying medicine was crushed from outside forces, it became clear that young women could be active agents in building their own fates against oppressors.
Similarly, Znarin was denied even basic education against patriarchal opposition and an ultimately unsuccessful insistence that she marry against her own will; nonetheless she chose to rise up and join with like-minded individuals as part of the YPG militia which eventually formed into the YPJ – Women’s Protection Units with exclusively female leaders – tasked with fighting opposite ISIS occupation forces during a climactic siege in Kobani city itself where they made their stand together as united defenders of human freedoms everywhere.
A Syrian Kurd Overcomes The Odds As U.S. And Ypg Forge A Powerful Alliance
The United States had been wary of getting involved in another Middle Eastern war, yet the situation had reached a point where it felt like America had no other choice but to intervene.
To do this without committing American ground forces, the US decided to partner with a local force that was already on the ground in Syria – and that’s when they discovered the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and their leader, Azeema.
With a history of standing up to ISIS and rescuing Yazidis from Mount Sinjar, plus their desire for self-rule rather than regime change, the Americans thought they were an ideal partner.
After extensive talks between the US and YPG, both sides agreed to enter into an alliance against ISIS.
It was then put to the test almost immediately; only weeks after making the agreement, ISIS began launching attacks on Kobani.
However, despite not having any American ground forces aiding them in this fight, Azeema and her forces defended against the attackers and managed to protect Kobani from falling into ISIS hands.
It was here that they proved just how formidable they were as allies – and made it clear why backing them as partners was worth it for America.
Brave Women Take Command During The Battle For Kobani, Facing Fear And Risks To Save Lives
Kobani was under siege by Islamic State in the summer of 2014 and it was a critical battle as the fall of this small Syrian city would give ISIS full control of the region.
The situation looked bleak until Nowruz, commander of the all-female YPG and YPJ forces, took action.
She commanded her troops to pull back and fortify every street and prepare for fight street by street, house by house.
The battles were tough with many harrowing moments.
With ISIS controlling three-quarters of the city at one point, Azeema was on the frontline when Nowruz called for an update over the radio.
She then gave orders to stay put but Azeema received another message; one of her male comrades was trapped inside a building with few other survivors.
Knowing that if she did not act they would die, Azeema rose to take command of a small group to rescue them.
At great risk, they fought their way through relentless gunfire until they reached their destination.
Once there, Azeema knew she needed to make an opening somehow so that her comrades could escape safely though any further advances would be fatal – taking out their only hope.
In order to do so she phoned the Americans for an airstrike which eventually cleared enough smoke for those trapped inside to escape unharmed.
As reinforcements and American aid continues to arrive in Kobani during this evil conflict, Nowruz desperately awaited each passing day for its end whilst being dedicatedly supported by her team including Znarin who brought food which went untouched due to her will power and focus throughout this period.
Finally after months had passed, ISIS power began weakening significantly and finally ended in victory in November 2014 allowing Kobane to once again live peacefully without fear from terrifying forces such as ISIS .
How Azeema’S Near-Death Experience Led To The Formation Of The Syrian Democratic Forces
Kobani was triumphant in their battle against ISIS.
After US airstrikes decimated their convoys and supplies, Azeema and her forces set off for a school to counter the latest offensive.
After an intense firefight, wherein both forces traded rounds of shots at each other, Azeema managed to hold her ground and eventually secured victory.
Azeema’s actions caught the attention of the Americans who saw an opportunity in joining forces with the Kurdish troops against ISIS.
Knowing that they needed help from Arabs too, they offered to support them if they could officially add Arabs to their ranks.
As part of this initiative, Mazlum Abdi suggested a name for the unified force: The Syrian Democratic Forces.
What had begun as seemingly impossible was now reality – Kobani had emerged victorious!
Thanks to brave soldiers like Azeema and partnership between Kurds and Arabs forming the SDF, Kobani was able to prevail over ISIS.
The Power Of Leadership: How One Woman Helped Liberate A City From Isis With Courage And Compassion
On May 30, 2016, Kurdish forces, led by the fearless Nowruz, set off across the Euphrates River to take back Manbij.
It was a daunting task – ISIS had occupied Manbij for two years and considered it a key transit point for their foreign fighters.
Nowruz and her American partners spent over a month planning the logistics of the operation.
Despite her team’s perception of her cool exterior, she felt nervous inside as they embarked on their mission.
The SDF boats braved the waters of the Euphrates, making several crossings as they worked to liberate Manbij from ISIS rule.
On board was Znarin – Nowruz had promoted her to lead her own fighting force just days prior, despite uncertainty in Znarin’s abilities.
But at 11:03 p.m., amidst radio chatter of their safe arrival on the other side, Raheema and each person in Nowuz’s command were filled with a bit more hope that victory could be achievable.
ISIS forces stood firmly entrenched in Manbij but this didn’t deter Znarin and her troops who fought bravely against them.
Losses mounted but she kept spirits high with words spoken by Nowruz at Kobani – “We’re not just fighting for ourselves but for humanity.” After several weeks of hard-fought battles, August 12th finally arrived – this date marked a first for Znarin; it was her first time leading from the field resulting in victory as ISIS convoys carried them away from Manbij.
Finally, after two long years under ISIS control, due to courageous acts like those of Nowraz and Znarin, Manbij is once again free and clear to pursue its path toward progress and prosperity.
The Tireless Leadership Of Rojda Felat In The Fight To Take Raqqa
The heart of darkness that is the fight against ISIS in Syria was never more apparent than in Raqqa.
With its location straddling Iraq and Syria, Raqqa has been a strategically important city for the Islamic State.
But it was also the site of a grueling fight between the SDF – led by Rojda Felat – and these extreme militants.
Rojda’s forces contained a mixture of Arabic and Kurdish fighters – both men and women – that grew from Hundreds to thousands as military success increased their numbers.
Even with Azeema’s brashness, it was Rojda’s quiet confidence that inspired her troops even in the toughest of battles.
Having already taken Tabqa town on their way towards Raqqa, her forces worked tirelessly to capture this vital source of electricity and water for the Islamic State, finally succeeding after lengthy siege only days prior to their advance into the city.
But with snipers and mortar fire slowing their progress, suicide bombers waiting in area buildings, and ISIS having hidden mines everywhere imaginable made what should have been a straightforward fight almost unbearable.
Still her forces managed to capture two-thirds of the city by August, pushing ISIS out by mid-October when tribal elders negotiated transportation out of the city for remaining militants.
In but two days they availed them selves of this ultimatum, leaving only 400 hostages behind who were freed with Rojda’s entering as victor later that week!
Brave Women Take Up Arms To Fight For Equality And Freedom In The Middle East
When Rojda arrives with her fellow fighters at Raqqa’s Naim Square, or Paradise Square as it’s been called, she can feel that something has changed.
For the first time in a long while, the air is empty of the sounds of war – gunshots, mortars, car bombs.
There’s an energy in the air now that only comes from victory over ISIS.
Paradise Square had once been a place where terror reigned; where blindfolded enemies were lined up and shot, women held in cages to be sold off to highest bidders, and severed heads stuck onto metal stakes.
Now, Rojda pauses to take in the rubble and bombed-out buildings that speak of all the damage done by ISIS.
The rebuilding process will be difficult and costly.
Today though celebrates freedom over despair, hope over hate.
Rojda runs through Naim Square waving flags and basking in her triumph over ISIS – and then she sees a flag waving above them: Abdullah Öcalan’s face stares down at her.
His ideas were essential to the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) – without him they may never have come into being.
But there was another important victory – The Social Contract of the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria had been ratified by Syrian Democratic Council: its goals focus on women’s rights such as coleading towns under its jurisdiction with free will ensured within family life; while providing punishment for violence discrimination or manipulation made against any women during their fight for liberation from oppressors like ISIS.
Women like Azeema, Rojda, Nowruz and Znarin have fought hard for this victory – rising up as snipers and field commanders – proving that not just men but women too can make courageous sacrifices for freedom and justice for their people.
The celebration continues after a resilient battle – But one fight is ending as another just begins – as these brave warriors ensure more victories in the future by continuing their fight for equal rights around them.
At the end of the day, The Daughters of Kobani is a story about Kurdish resilience in Northeast Syria.
The women in the story, Nowruz, Znarin, Azeema, and Rojda fight for their rights even in the midst of conflict.
The narrative follows SDF’s defeat of ISIS forces in Raqqa and their later fight against Turkish forces who launched an aggressive attack on Kurdish-majority cities.
Although U.S soldiers remain in parts of northeastern Syria to assist with negotiations, it remains unclear what the future holds for these areas and its people.
What is clear though is that no matter what, the Kurdish women here will continue to fight for their rights and freedom These four remarkable women have demonstrated that they are capable of taking control of their own lives and making lasting change even amid difficult circumstances.