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Meet America’s Syrian Allies Who Helped Defeat ISIS

Zinareen Anas, 36, Militia Commander

Ms. Anas is the Euphrates Valley commander of the Women’s Protection Forces, a Kurdish militia that is part of the S.D.F. Like many of her fellow commanders, she has been wounded in battle, while fighting in Kobani in 2014. “Our commanders all lead from the front,” she said. Ms. Anas fought alongside the American military in Manbij, Shadade and Al Haul, and last year in Raqqa and Deir al-Zour. The American Special Operations units always had one or two American women, and they were quick to bond with their Kurdish counterparts, she said. Some of them were chagrined, she said, when they realized the Kurds were way ahead of them in battlefield equality. “They had limited powers compared to us,” she said. “We can make decisions and everything without a man approving them, and they can’t easily do that. So you could say we’re more advanced than the American military, that way.” During the Raqqa and Manbij fights, the women’s militia could sometimes listen in on Islamic State radio conversations. “It drove Daesh crazy to think women were fighting against them,” she said. “They used to say, ‘Let’s get one of their heads.’ ” They never did; no Kurdish woman was captured alive by the extremists, she said. “With Daesh, we always kept one bullet or one grenade for ourselves, and fought to the last breath.”

Source: NYT > World

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