Stories about Christians in the Middle East are often about the latest barbaric persecution by radical Islamists — in an almost desensitizing, routine narrative.
Meet one group of Christian women in Syria fighting back. The Bethnahrin Women’s Protection Forces (HSNB) are part of over 2,000 Christian fighters taking on Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
As partners of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, they have been among America’s most reliable partners on the ground since their formation in mid-2015.
Similar to the better-known Kurdish forces, they are against both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and the so-called moderate Syrian opposition.
Nisha Gewriye, commander of the women’s units, has graciously agreed to present an exclusive inside look at the women’s fighting force for Clarion Project’s readership:
Zach D. Huff, Clarion Project’s Kurdish Affairs analyst: What is your current position? Tell us about your background and why you fight.
Nisha Gewriye, HSNB commander: I am the commander of Bethnahrin Women’s Protection Forces from both the headquarters and the field. My position is to coordinate front line activities. I must be very diligent in my duty and responsibility when planning operations and assessing all potential risks beforehand.
As a woman, I am fighting against the savage Islamic State and against their inhumane treatment of women and the whole of humanity. I see it as my duty to fight against a barbarian organization that threatens the whole world.
Clarion Project: What are the most important engagements you’ve had? Where have your forces been most active, and what role do you play in taking Raqqa?
Gewriye: As positive as it is that women play an active role in the battlefield, women have yet to be accepted in society. We aim to change this status quo with the position we have. There are some obstacles to the participation of women in the military which are rooted in the mentality of the men.
We played an active role in the al-Hawl and al-Shaddadi operations, with front line positions, as well in supportive roles. In Raqqa — the capital of Islamic State — we are taking positions in the toughest places yet.
Our goal is to free Raqqa from ISIS and to completely remove them from their center of operations. We will liberate Raqqa and return it to the people. (Click to Site)