Stars and Stripes reports: It’s an Islamic State fighter’s worst fear: to be killed by a woman.
In northern Iraq, where Kurdish forces are rapidly regaining territory held by the Islamic State, that’s becoming real risk for the extremists.
There are plenty of female Kurdish soldiers on the front lines. They’re smaller than their male comrades, but they talk just as tough as they prowl the battlefield clutching automatic rifles and vowing vengeance for those victimized by the Islamic State.
“We are equal with the men,” said Zekia Karhan, 26, a female guerrilla from Turkey who is with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK. “Every responsibility for a man is the same for a woman. We are treated equally, and that is why we are fighting.”
The female PKK troops accessorize their olive drab uniforms with colorful scarfs, but they’re as thirsty for battle as anyone.
“I fired on this position from the mountain,” said Felice Budak, 24, another PKK fighter from Turkey, as she stood next to a window pierced by several bullet holes in Makhmur, a town that the PKK helped recapture from the Islamic State this month.
Budak said she wasn’t scared during the battle.
Islamic State fighters “are very scared of death because they are only here to kill people,” she said. “I don’t mind doing it over and over again. I’ve already fought in Turkey, Iran and Syria.”
The leftist PKK has been fighting the Turkish government for decades and is classed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. But its fighters have been going into battle alongside Kurdish peshmerga in recent weeks and are credited by some locals with turning the tide of battle in Iraq. [Continue reading…]