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Syrian army now has women's troops to fight ISIS

Syrian army now has women's troops to fight ISISThe Syrian army has created a new battalion solely consisting of female recruits who have signed up for the fight against ISIS, The Independent said, citing local media reports.

Al-Masdar News, which is sympathetic to the Syrian regime, posted a video of several dozen women in combat fatigues and headscarves taking part in target practice and singing patriotic songs on Wednesday.

The battalion, named Khansawat Souria, is made up of around 150 women from towns in al-Qamishli in the north of the country. It is led by Ba’ath party member Jazya Tu’mah.

Qamishli town itself is a Kurdish centre which has become strategically important during the course of Syria’s civil war. The province has long been fought over by Kurdish, Syrian army and ISIS forces.

The newly formed battalion and video appear to have been created in the style of the female units of the Kurdish troops fighting off ISIS in the region.

The YPJ, or Women’s Protection Units, was set up in 2012 to empower women in the fight to carve out an autonomous Kurdish state in northern Syria, and fight off the extremist groups which have flourished in the chaos of the war.

Dozens of Arab and Yazidi women have joined fighting units after their towns have been liberated by the YPJ, inspired by their example.

Historically there have always been small numbers of women in the Syrian armed forces, but the number has grown since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011.

The Republican Guard, a unit which defends Damascus, created an all-female section in 2015 which has been nicknamed the "Lionesses of Defence.”
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