Syrian government forms female battalion to fight IS

Around 150 women from the Qamishlo region have joined government forces in the fight against Isis

The Syrian government has established a women’s battalion to fight against the Islamic State (IS).

Pro-government media posted a video on 1 February showing dozens of women in combat fatigues, wearing scarves and taking part in target practice and singing nationalist songs.

The battalion, called Khansawat Souria, consists of around 150 women from towns in Qamishlo in the north of the country. Since the war in Syria began, the region has been fought over by Kurdish, Syrian army and IS forces.

The Kurdish dominated Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), formed in 2012 to fight the IS, is one of the most significant women battalions in Syria. Many Arab and Yazidi women also joined fighting units after their villages were liberated by YPJ fighters, the UK Independent reported.

According to the report the newly formed Syrian battalion appears to have been created in the style of the YPJ.