KRG Training Women To Combat ISIL
Shallaw Mohammed – Yalla – Zakho
The participation of women in the fight against ISIL is now rivaling the ongoing financial crisis as the hottest topic Kurdistan Region.
There have been vocal demands by women in Kurdistan who want to volunteer to fight side by side with men in the Peshmerga, and the dean of the Region’s military academy says that the number of female recruits is on the rise.
In the Zakho District of the Dohuk Governorate 540 high school graduates have enrolled to become officers in the voluntary women’s force.
About 204 women will join the Peshmerga within weeks, having started their military training at the Zakho Military Academy approximately a year ago. Once they have completed the training, they will be deployed to the frontline of the war against ISIL.
24-year-old Khadija Hassan is one of the cadets training at the Academy and is waiting to complete her training and join the fight against ISIL.
“We want to fight side by side with the KRG Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi security forces that are fighting against ISIL. This group has committed many crimes against women and the largest numbers of victims at the hands of members of this group have been women,” Khadija said. “Six members of my family have sacrificed their lives to eradicate terrorism and I am ready to become the seventh, if necessary.”
Najiba Omar, 19, told Yalla about her military training.
“During this year’s training at the Acdemy they have taught us how to use all types of small arms and a number of heavy weapons in order to prepare us for combatting ISIL and similar groups,” Najba said. “The people of Kurdistan have given us tremendous support. When we visit a region and talk to them about ourselves and how we are ready to take part in the fight against ISIL, they respect our work and say they are proud of us.”
In July 2014, Kurdistan Peshmerga forces joined the fight against ISIL to protect the Kurdistan Region and the so-called ‘Article 140’ disputed areas. At the same time the second regiment of the women’s forces with the assistance of the first brigade of the Peshmerga forces fought against ISIL militants. Captain Rangin Yusuf was killed fighting against ISIL on 11 October 2014 near Daquq south of Kirkuk. She was a member of the second regiment and became the first woman martyred in the fight against ISIL in the Kurdistan Region.
In Kurdistan there are two military academies for training officers of both sexes, in Qalacholan and Zakho. The Zakho Academy started the first military training course to prepare only women officers.
“After the arrival of ISIL in Iraq, women have freely volunteered to carry arms, hence, the president of the Kurdistan Region decided to order the provision of military training for those women who wish to become officers in the Peshmerga forces, and now they are taking part in military training daily,” Lieutenant Colonel Mahmood Omar, in charge of the press office of Zakho Military Academy told Yalla. “With the assistance of the other military academies in the Kurdistan Region, the doors were opened for women to become officers and a considerable number of women apply to join our academy daily. They want to be prepared for combat against ISIL.”
Zakho Military Academy was established in 1966 and since the fall of the Ba’ath Party in 2003, the Academy has belonged to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.