The PJ Tatler

Take That, ISIS: Nearly a Third of Kurd-Yazidi Coalition Fighters are Women

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee noted that the Kurdish-Yazidi coalition of fighters that ousted ISIS from Sinjar and cut off an Islamic State supply route this week is nearly a third women.

The coalition consisted of Peshmerga, YPG, YPJ, PKK and Yazidi fighters of the HPŞ (Protection Forces of Sinjar).

As if they didn’t have enough motivation to fight already, the fighters found clear evidence of genocide once they retook the city and nearby villages: mass graves with men, women and children. Elderly women were separated from the younger ones and killed because they were deemed too old to be sex slaves.

Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) told CNN that lawmakers have stressed to President Obama “over and over and over again” that “it’s time for the president of the United States to arm the Kurds, to arm the Yazidis, to have the kind of support from the air that was necessary, especially during the first year of ISIS’ operations when they took 14 cities without this administration once using air power against them.”

“We certainly, certainly do need to be supporting those who are fighting ISIS with the heavy equipment that they need. We have yet to do that.”

Arms for the Kurds go through Baghdad, where the supplies get stuck with the beleaguered Iraqi army. Lawmakers have been trying to put a fix in the National Defense Authorization Act “in order to force that issue with the president,” Royce said.

“The prime minister of Iraq and the prime minister of Iran object to the idea that the United States would arm the Kurds, the Yazidis, the Christians, the others who are fighting ISIS up there. They want it all run through the Shia-led government in Baghdad,” he said. “And I can tell you that after two years of us failing to be able to get any kind of cooperation there, they tell us they need, they must have, that artillery, the anti-tank weapons, the long range mortars, because they’re dealing with – against ISIS.”

“Although they have a large force, 190,000, 30 percent of them are women, are females in these battalions fighting against ISIS, but they don’t have the weapons they need and this president needs to reverse his position on that and needs to reverse his position also in terms of the air strikes and give the close order support that we need on the battlefield, you know, to support those Kurdish troops.”

Royce stressed that “the idea that we’re going to cooperate with the Shia-led government in Iraq and unfortunately in Iran, that has been a cul-de-sac.”

“They are not going to cooperate here in terms of supporting the Kurdish effort against ISIS and those are the only fighters that are effective on the ground,” he said. “And so that’s where our effort needs to be.”