ISIS — the militant Islamic organization that has wreaked havoc across the globe with terror attacks and seemingly endless propaganda videos of beheadings and other atrocities — apparently has an Achilles heel. And it’s a big one, just waiting to be exploited by the right strategist. The terror group’s vulnerability is females.
You read that correctly. Soldiers of the Islamic State are afraid of girls — and, in particular, of facing female soldiers — according to a militia commander in the Kurdish Women’s Protection Unit (YPJ) which has been battling the terror group in Syria and Iraq. The fundamentalist Islamic fighters believe being killed by a woman will prevent them from going to heaven.
The YPJ is an all-female branch of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) — which is comprised of about 50,000 fighters, 20 percent of whom are women in their early twenties. The YPG has had the most success of any specific group on the ground in combating ISIS, even growing the territory controlled by the Kurds — who mostly inhabit a contiguous area spanning adjacent parts of southeastern, western Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria. In that hardcore and male dominated region of the world, it’s difficult to imagine that such a force exists. But indeed, they do, and according to the women themselves, they appear to do so without fear.
Speaking to CNN, a 21-year-old unit commander, fighting under the name Tehelden — which is Kurdish for “revenge” — dismissed ISIS fighters’ “bravery,” stating:
“They think they’re fighting in the name of Islam. They believe if someone from Daesh [ISIS] is killed by a girl, a Kurdish girl, they won’t go to heaven. They’re afraid of girls.”
One 20-year-old fighter named Efelin giggled when asked if ISIS would try to attack the area her unit had taken, saying, “If they do, we won’t leave one of them alive.” The young woman and her soldier sisters are stationed in Al-Houl located in north-east Syria.
Another young woman of the YPG said during a video-taped interview that before she joined the fight, her perception of ISIS was of fierce fighters who could take 10 bullets without dying. But when she reached the battlefield, she realized that ISIS uses psychology to exaggerate their strength, and stated that they were “normal people, even fearful” and would not attack except in large numbers backed up by their tanks and snipers.
This telling revelation from the front lines of the battle with ISIS — by those who have been most successful in handing the terror group significant defeats — could serve as a useful lesson to the US and coalition forces. Perhaps Obama should deploy warplanes manned by female fighter pilots in the region — and make sure that Islamic State soldiers know they are being bombed by women.