Unidentified all-female brigade emerges in Syria 'calling for equality'
‘The role of a woman is no less important than that of a man,’ one of the women says in the video
In a video posted online this week, a group of female militants believed to be in Syria appear to be training with guns while insisting that a woman’s role is equal to a man’s, The Independent newspaper reported.
“The role of a woman is no less important than that of a man,” one of the women says.
The footage is similar to the propaganda videos released by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and affiliate militant groups but lacks the insignia they usually bear.
“We are 45 women from al-Sham,” the woman continues, explaining that they have left the comfort of their own homes to defend their land and people.
“We have gone out to defend our land. We are trained in the art of shooting and preparations of weapon, as well as Sharia and theological studies,” she added, explaining that their role is largely defensive.
It was reportedly shot outside the Church of Saint Simeon north west of Aleppo, an areas ISIS does not control.
The women seem to denounce the role ascribed to their gender by ISIS, who have set severe constraints on mobility and what women could do in areas they control.
Charlie Winter, a researcher at the anti-extremism think-tank Quilliam, said the all-women group seems to not be aligned with other Islamist militant organizations.
“They say they have come together to train and to defend their people and land. But, while ‘jihadist’ is probably the most appropriate term to describe them, they are clearly not aligned with groups such as ISIS,” he told the Independent.
“There is no overt mention of any affiliation with any group and no Jabhat al-Nusra or Isis hallmarks, such as flags, in the video,” he pointed.
As to the remarks they make about their role as women, Winter said it may be a statement denouncing the 10,000 word manifesto on how a woman life in ISIS-controlled areas role should revolve around domestic duties.
“It shows they position themselves as a female fighting unit and are decrying the supporting role women are expected to take,” he said.
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