Speed Reads

female fighters

Thousands of Kurdish women are volunteering to battle against ISIS, others in Syria

There are 7,000 volunteer soldiers in the Women's Protection Unit, or YPJ, which fights alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Syria. In August, photojournalist Erin Trieb traveled there to meet these women, and gain insights into their daily life.

Most of the soldiers are between the ages of 18 to 24, and unmarried. New soldiers are expected to rise at 4 a.m. and spend the day going through drills and taking classes. Recruits age 12 and up cook, do chores, and also get in some training. Their motto, "Havar," means friendship in Kurdish.

The YPJ is fighting against ISIS, the al-Nusra Front, and the government forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Kurds say that ISIS militants believe that if they are killed by a woman, they won't go into heaven, which is why members of the YPJ are feared.

View Trieb's photographs at NBC News.