Al-Qaeda in Syria forms female brigades

Women have now joined the al-Qaeda-linked group to ‘expose male activists trying to disguise themselves in burqas’

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The al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has formed two female battalions in Syria’s northern city of Raqqah, pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on Sunday.

The battalions were reportedly launched as part of ISIS’ efforts to “expose male activists who disguise in women’s clothing to avoid detention when stopping at the ISIS checkpoints.”

The battalions were name “Al-Khansaa” and “Umm al-Rayan,” opposition websites reported, adding that the ISIS had set conditions for females to be able to join; they must be single and aged between 18 and 25.

The opposition added that each woman will receive a monthly salary of 25,000 Syrian liras, less than $200, adding that these women must only work with the organization.

The battalions’ patrols roamed Raqqah’s streets on Saturday and set up check points to search female passersby.

Opposition leader Ibrahim Moslem, who hails from Raqqah, told the daily that the ISIS learnt that “activists who oppose the group are dressing in burkas like women to pass unharmed at checkpoints. Establishing female battalions was the only solution (for the ISIS) to stop this. The organization’s (men) cannot search women but now that these battalions have been established, it can.”

ISIS is one of two rebel groups which U.S. and European security officials say are the most extreme Sunni factions seeking to overthrow Assad, who is an Alawite, an offshoot of the Shiite branch of Islam.

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