01 Jul 2013 04:00
In the Salahaldin neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, young women have joined the first female fighting unit, "Al Mouminin Aisha," to defend their homes and community from attacks by the Syrian regime and their allies. They function under the Al-Tawhid Brigade in Aleppo.
The head of the unit, Um Mohammed, is a mother of four children and the wife of a Free Syrian Army soldier also fighting in Salahaldin neighborhood. She decided to take protection into her own hands and pick up a rifle in hopes of defending her neighborhood from regime attacks and crimes against women such as rape that have been on a rise since fighting began. Um Mohammed has set strict criteria for accepting new members in the female unit, in which any new member should be a female Muslim rebel from Aleppo who fulfills her prayers and all other religious duties and has good reputation. There are currently thirteen members in the unit, ranging in age from 17 to 24.
Um Mohammed says that she is working with the rest of the fighters of the brigade in order to establish an Islamic caliphate state. The trainer, Abu Deeb, explains that the “La Ilaha illa allah” headband on the each female's foreheads is a symbol of the fighters deep faith in their religion, Islam.
They not only are facing challenges on the front lines and among other opposition fights. It's widely-known that other Islamist brigades are not unsupportive of female fighters joining the battle.
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