Report: ISIS launching female jihadist battalions in Syria
Female Al Qaeda soldiers are not unheard of - here, Somali women carry weapons during a demonstration organized by the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab group in 2010. (AFP/File)
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The Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has launched two female battalions in Syria’s northern city of Raqqa, pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat daily reported on Sunday.
The battalions were reportedly launched as part of ISIS’ efforts to “expose male activists who disguise in women’s clothing to avoid detention when stopping at the ISIS checkpoints.”
The battalions were name “Al-Khansaa” and “Umm al-Rayan,” opposition websites reported, adding that the ISIS had set conditions for females to be able to join; they must be single and aged between 18 and 25.
The opposition added that each woman will receive a monthly salary of 25,000 Syrian liras, less than $200, adding that these women must only work with the organization.
The battalions’ patrols roamed Raqqah’s streets on Saturday and set up check points to search female passersby.
Opposition leader Ibrahim Moslem, who hails from Raqqah, told the daily that the ISIS learnt that “activists who oppose the group are dressing up in burqas like women to pass unharmed at checkpoints. Establishing female battalions was the only solution (for the ISIS) to stop this. The organization’s (men) cannot search women but now that these battalions have been established, it can.”
ISIS is one of two rebel groups which U.S. and European security officials say are the most extreme Sunni factions seeking to overthrow Assad, who is an Alawite, an offshoot of the Shiite branch of Islam.
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