Female ISIS members have been filmed fighting on the front line for the first time as the group becomes “desperate” to bolster its dwindling ranks.
A new propaganda video showed at least five women armed with guns being driven to battle in a truck flying the ISIS flag.
One can then be seen fighting alongside male militants, firing a rifle over defensive earthbanks in what appeared to be clashes along the Euphrates river in Syria.
In the video, released in both English and Arabic, a narrator hailed men “rising in response to the call of jihad… and following them, the chaste mujahid woman journeying to her Lord with the garments of purity and faith, seeking revenge for her religion and for the honour of her sisters imprisoned by the apostate Kurds.
“They launch the battle to avenge the chaste women – it is a campaign that commences a new era of conquest.”
The narrator was referring to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and other groups that drove ISIS out of its major Syrian stronghold as part of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.
Nikita Malik, director of the Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society, said ISIS’s falling numbers mean it is “having to rely on every single person”.
“It shows an element of desperation,” she told The Independent. “It’s a big deviation from their initial propaganda that women were homemakers who should take a secondary role.”
ISIS has previously prohibited women from fighting on the battlefield, instead encouraging them to marry fighters, spread propaganda and bear and indoctrinate children to populate its so-called Islamic State.
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