As fighting continues to rage between ISIS and its enemies in Iraq and Syria, the female soldiers fighting within the Kurdish Peshmerga have gained increasing prominence.
Unlike many neighbouring militaries in the Middle East, the Peshmerga allow women into their military force. Female Kurds serve on the front lines alongside their male companions. Women are able to climb the leadership ladder of the Peshmerga too, although they are capped at the level of regiment commander.
The military force also plays a strong role in helping to combat the practice of honour killings, and the organisation encourages the education of women — fighters have to be literate in order to join the force.
Below are images of female fighters taking part in combat training before being deployed against ISIS.
Female fighters with the Peshmerga undergo two types of training — daily drills and seasonal drills.
Daily drills begin at 6 am and feature morning exercises, followed by educational seminars. The rest of the day is spent performing military duties.
Seasonal drills begin at 5 am, and begin with educational seminars which are then applied in outdoor exercises.
Seasonal training is carried out alongside male fighters.
During training, the women are divided into groups and are taught to specialize in a type of weapon. These weapons range from sniper rifles to rocket-propelled grenades to automatic firearms.
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