Kurdish women battle the Islamic State

Source: Reuters - Fri, 1 May 2015 10:00 AM
Author: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih
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Kurdish forces have been fighting the Islamic State since the al Qaeda offshoot captured large tracts of land in Iraq and Syria.

Among the groups fighting the Islamic militants is the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which took up arms to carve out an independent Kurdish homeland within Turkey in 1984.

The battle against the Islamic State has drawn many women to the frontline.

Women fighters at a PKK militia base on Mount Sinjar in northwest Iraq, just like their male counterparts, have to be ready for action at any time.

Many of the women have cut links with their families back home and the fighters come from all corners of the Kurdish region that spans Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.

Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih travelled to Mount Sinjar, Iraq, last month to document the life of women fighters at a PKK militia base.

The Sinjar area was the scene of a fierce Islamic State offensive last year in which hundreds of people from Iraq's Yazidi minority sect were killed and thousands, captured and raped by Islamic State fighters.

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    Damaged cars are seen in the zigzag road leading to the Sinjar mountain area where half of it was freed from the Islamic State by Kurdish forces, March 12, 2015.

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    A female member of PKK guerilla fighters stands near a security position in Chalmiran hill in Sinjar, March 13, 2015.

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    Members of PKK fighters prepare to go for a militarty funeral for a Yazidi soldier from YBS militia killed during fighting with Islamic State militants in a base in Sinjar, March 12, 2015.

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    Female members of PKK guerilla walk through destroyed houses which was freed by them from Islamic State fighters in Sinjar, March 11, 2015.

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    A female PKK fighter writes notes as she sits at a security post in Sinjar, March 13, 2015.

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    A female PKK fighter works on her laptop while watching a Kurdish TV station on one of the bases in Sinjar mountain, March 11, 2015.

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    A visiting Yazidi woman takes a nap at a base for female PKK fighters in Sinjar. On the wall are pictures of jailed Kurdish PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, a Yazidi shrine and PKK fighters who lost their lives during the clashes. Picture taken March 10, 2015.

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    Haval Raperin, a leading PKK fighter combs her hair at her base in Sinjar, March 11, 2015

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    Female relatives of PKK guerillas sit inside a bunker in Sinjar, March 12, 2015.

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    A displaced Yazidi family including a fighter who live in tents nearby chant slogans as a military convoy passed carrying the body of a Yazidi soldier killed during clashes with Islamic State militants. The convoy was heading to a funeral ceremony in a cemetery for the Yazidi fighters in Sinjar, March 12, 2015.

  •  iraq irq sinjar reldbmgf10000077455  iraq irq sinjar reldbmgf10000077455

    A female PKK fighters carries freshly baked bread as her comrades play with Yazidi children in Sinjar, March 13, 2015.

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    A female PKK fighter in Sinjar waits for a drone to land. The drone had been deployed to check on enemy positions, March 11, 2015.

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