This Badass Folk Singer is Building an All-Woman Brigade to Fight ISIS

A Yazidi performer and her ‘Sun Girls’ are training with Kurdish fighters in the desert.

When the ISIS’s ragged and vicious army of terrorists invaded northern Iraq in the summer of 2014 they displaced thousands of minority Yazidis, a sect whose beliefs combine elements of Christianity and Islam. But after more than a year of horror and bloodshed, the Yazidis are regrouping and preparing to fight back against the ISIS hordes — with women leading the way.

The Daily Mail details how 30-year-old Xate Shingali, a Yazidi woman once a regionally popular folk singer, has become a leader in the Yazidi and Kurdish effort to resist the ever-expanding footprint of the Islamic State.

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The Mail reports Xate began assembling the brigade — unofficially called “the Sun Girls” after a Yazidi belief they are protected by the Sun— in early July with special permission from the Kurdish President. So far,  she has recruited more than 120 women ranging in age from 17 to 30 years old.

Xate tells the Mail that men of the Kurdish peshmerga are providing training her Sun Girls to be proficient with the standard-issue AK-47 and basic battlefield tactics and that she already feels they are “ready to fight ISIS anytime.”

The Mail also spoke with a teen recruit named Jane, who says her father is happy she has joined the brigade and “all [Yazidi] families accept us to join this union… We are happy to fight along side the peshmerga.”

Since sweeping across Iraq in August 2014, ISIS has displaced estimated 40,000 Yazidi men, women and children Jane’s hometown on Sinjar.  According to Fox News, the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government estimates that 4,000 Yazidi were killed before an international coalition arrived to protect the vulnerable population. 

ISIS’s history of raping and sexually enslaving female captives doesn’t deter the badass women gearing up alongside the peshmerga. Jane tells the Mail  she“cannot be scared of them.”

When the Mail asked about the possibility that ISIS fears fighting women because death at a woman’s hands will rob them of their heavenly reward of 72 virgins, Xate made it clear her enemy wouldn’t get that far, saying they’d never get as far as heaven in the first place after her soldiers were through with them.

Jane is in line with her leader.”Any second they tell us to fight ISIS I am ready,” she told the Mail. “I hope to kill them all.”

Photos by Safin Hamed/AFP