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‘We Hope for Battle’ : Kurdish Women Fighters strike Fear into Islamic State (ISIS) Terrorist Group in Iraq

In 2014, under Islamic State rule, as many as 7,000 Yazidi women and girls were kidnapped and sold as sex slaves

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On a quiet Monday evening, young female soldiers play volleyball as the sun goes down over their base, a converted schoolhouse.

Not far from mass graves along the side of the road where hundreds of people were killed by IS, the women say they joined up not to fight, but to fight back.

Of all of the victims Islamic State militants have created in this region, Yazidi women arguably have the most reason to be angry.

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“Militants took our daughters and sisters and sold them in other cities,” said Najwa Ali Ismail, a 25-year-old soldier.”I joined the peshmerga to defend my homeland.”

At an all-female base, a peshmerga soldier stands guard on Nov. 14, 2016, in Snuny, Iraq (H. Murdock/VOA)
At an all-female base, a peshmerga soldier stands guard on Nov. 14, 2016, in Snuny, Iraq (H. Murdock/VOA)

In 2014, under Islamic State rule, as many as 7,000 Yazidi women and girls were kidnapped and sold as sex slaves. Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled to the mountains surrounding Sinjar. Thousands died of exposure.

Others were slaughtered in the city and thrown in the mass graves they had been forced to dig. Roughly 5,000 other people were also killed in an attempt to wipe out the religious sect — an act the United Nations has called a genocide.

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As members of the Kurdish peshmerga forces, the women fighters are now preparing for battle — if called upon — with daily exercises and weapons training, according to unit leader Capt. Xatun Ali.

Ali, the original member of the unit, solicited the peshmerga forces for a place in their army after fleeing her home in 2014. She spent nearly two weeks in the mountains before peshmerga soldiers beat back enough jihadists for civilians to flee.

Many starved, she says, and some women chose suicide over rape. After she escaped, her family suggested she flee to Europe, like so many other refugees. But she wanted to stay and fight.

Leaders say hundreds of women have joined the Yazidi brigade, and thousands more have requested to join, Nov. 14, 2016 in Snuny, Iraq. (H. Murdock/VOA)
Leaders say hundreds of women have joined the Yazidi brigade, and thousands more have requested to join, Nov. 14, 2016 in Snuny, Iraq. (H. Murdock/VOA)

Since the IS take over of much of this region, this brigade has grown from one to hundreds, and thousands more Yazidi women have asked to join.

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“Any weapons kind of weapons we use on the frontlines are to defend our daughters and our people. As Yazidis, we do not believe in attacking and murdering people,” Ali said. “But nowadays terrorists are blowing themselves up and killing people. They are like fire. We must fight fire with fire.”

Young female fighters say they they hope to battle Islamic State militants after mass rapes, executions and kidnappings that the United Nations says amounts to genocide, Nov. 14, 2016, in Snuny, Iraq. (H. Murdock/VOA)
Young female fighters say they they hope to battle Islamic State militants after mass rapes, executions and kidnappings that the United Nations says amounts to genocide, Nov. 14, 2016, in Snuny, Iraq. (H. Murdock/VOA)

Ali fought on the frontlines when Sinjar was captured by peshmerga soldiers a year ago. Now her troops are training to defend not just other Yazidis, but also Kurdistan, a semiautonomous region in Iraq.

In the meantime, she says her brigade, like other peshmerga troops, is focused on holding the IS lines back, and healing the ruined towns and cities IS left behind.

“Since the mass graves are on the roadside, people see them and it makes them sad,” she said. “There are people in there from age 1 to 90. We need to move them.” (VOA)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)