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Female Fighters Launch Operation Against ISIS To ‘Avenge’ Sex Slaves

REUTERS/Rodi Said

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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An all-female brigade of Kurdish fighters started a campaign against the Islamic State Saturday, with plans to “avenge Yezidi women” captured by the terrorist group.

The Shingal Women’s Units (YJS) launched the operation to liberate areas in Iraq’s Shingal district, also known as Sinjar, according to ARA News.

“We have not forgotten Êzidî [Yezidi] women sold in markets of Mosul or burnt alive. We know that the people that ISIS holds as hostage are waiting for us to rescue them,” said the YJS in a statement. “We will not stop until we liberate our women and take revenge.”

Sinjar became synonymous with death and destruction after ISIS ransacked the region throughout 2014 and 2015. The area is home to the Yazidi religious minority, which the terrorist group falsely considers devil worshipers due to their religious beliefs. Thousands of Yazidis were killed and displaced during the rise of ISIS. Several thousand captured women were sold into sex slavery through the terrorist group’s black market.

Kurdish groups of all kinds utilize female units in the fight against ISIS, including the Kurdish government’s Peshmerga units. Many of the women are known to be fierce warriors, often fighting on the front line with their male counterparts.

The YJS units operate under the Shia Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), which are backed by Iran yet operate as part of the official Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The units are also allegedly affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which the Turkish government considers a terrorist group. The alleged affiliation is problematic for the U.S., given its leaders want to support the Kurdish groups fighting ISIS without deteriorating the U.S.-Turkish alliance.

There is speculation that the YJS units could join the PMUs in the fight for Tal Afar, a strategically important city just west of Mosul. The ISF and Kurdish Peshmerga units are currently engaged in an assault on Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, while members of the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) are making a push toward the Syrian city of Raqqa, the so-called caliphate’s capital.

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