18 year-old Saria Zilan from Amuda, Syria:
"I fought with ISIS in Serikani. I captured one of them and wanted to kill him, but my comrades did not let me. He kept staring at the ground and would not look at me, because he said it was forbidden by his religion to look at a woman." Source: Newsha Tavakolian/TIME
Female soldiers show signs of peace as trucks carrying refugees from Mount Sinjar enter Til Kocer, Syria, safely. Source: Erin Trieb
18-year-old YPJ fighter Torin Khairegi: “We live in
a world where women are dominated by men.
We are here to take control of our future..I injured an ISIS jihadi in Kobane. When he was wounded, all his friends left him behind and ran away. Later I went there and buried his body. I now feel that I am very powerful and can defend my home, my friends, my country, and myself. Many of us have been matryred and I see no path other than the continuation of their path."
Source: Newsha Tavakolian/TIME
20-year-old Narlene wraps a scarf around her face near Raabia, Syria. Source: Erin Trieb
20-year old YPJ fighter Aijan Denis from Amuda, Syria:
"Where I am now, men and women are equal and we all have the same thought, which is fighting for our ideology and the rights of women. My three sisters and I are all in YPJ. "
Newsha Tavakolian for TIME
I joined YPJ in 2011. One day when I was watching TV, they were showing pictures of women who had been killed. I was really impressed by that and decided to join the army myself. Where I am now, men and women are equal and we all have the same thought, which is fighting for our ideology and the rights of women. My three sisters and I are all in YPJ. They all operate RPGs. I wish to become so skilled that I will be allowed to do the same." Source: Newsha Tavakolian/TIME
Women in the Peshmerga undergo drill instruction at the Sulaymaniyah base. Source: Jacob Russell
Thousands of Kurdish women have taken up arms to defend their people from the Assad regime, ISIS and the al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda branch operating in Syria and Lebanon. Source: Erin Trieb
Young recruits take part in near dawn drill in Rojava, a Kurdish area of Syria. Typically, female soldiers rise at 4am after six hours of sleep. Before joining, many of these women had never participated in sports. Source: Erin Trieb
Women in dawn drills near Derek City, Syria. Source: Erin Trieb
Female soldier waits for a drone to return to the PKK base in Sinjar. The drone had gone to check enemy positions near a site previously hit by ISIS car bombs. Source: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
Female fighter discussing how to gain access to space hit by ISIS car bombs in Sinjar. Source: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
Woman totes a portrait of Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan at the Sinjar base. Ocalan was one of the founding members of the Kurdish Workers Party, which is listed as a terrorist organization by NATO, the United States and the European Union, among others. Source: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
A female soldier adjusts her machine gun as she prepares to join others near a spot hit by ISIS car bombs. Source: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
29-year-old Nuhad Kocer sits at a military base in Til Kocer, Syria. The person in the framed photo is Azadi Ristem, a soldier killed by a sniper from the al-Nusra Front. Source: Erin Trieb
16 year-old YPJ fighter Barkhodan Kochar from Darbasi, Syria.
"The war influenced me a lot. Before joining YPJ, whenever I asked my family about politics, they'd say 'that's not your business, you're just a girl'. But when I saw how the women of YPJ gave their lives for what they believed in, I knew that I wanted to be one of them." Source: Newsha Tavakolian/TIME
A female fighter stands guard at a PKK base on Mount Sinjar, northwest Iraq. Source: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
Female Peshmerga dons a pink featuring Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who is Kurdish. Source: Jacob Russell
In Kurdish Rovaja, Syria, young people are taught the ideology of the PYD (the Democratic Union Party of Syria), an affiliate of PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). Many will be drafted to fight ISIS. Source: Newsha Tavakolian/TIME
A young recruit wears pink on the first day of her training in Derek City, Syria. Source: Erin Trieb
Recruits dance at a base near Derek City, Syria. Source: Erin Trieb
Recruits embrace a female soldier who they thought had been sent to the front line. Source: Erin Trieb
Recruits in Derek City, Syria do each other's hair at 4:30am, before training. Source: Erin Trieb
22-year-old Asadi Kamishloo has her eyebrows plucked at a base in Til Kocer, Syria. Source: Erin Trieb
Female fighters eat peppers, tomatoes, cheese and flatbread for breakfast in Til Kocer, Syria. Source: Erin Trieb
Female Peshmergas pose next to a displaced Yazidi woman (far right) who lives near their base in Sinjar. At least 5,000 Yazidis have been massacred in ISIS' genocidal campaign against them. Source: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
Female Peshmergas sit with a Yazidi family, one of which is a member of YBS, a Yazidi militant group fighting against ISIS. Source: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
Female fighter Jin bonds with her mother, Amina, at home in Girke Lege, Syria. Source: Erin Trieb
Female soldier Shavin Bachouck rests at an abandoned Iraqi Army post near Raabia, Syria. Source: Erin Trieb
17 year-old Cicek Derek, died in Kobani, Syria. Her body was unable to be retrieved. Source: Newsha Tavakolian/TIME
Cicek Derek's sister, Rojin, had this to say: "When my mother told Cicek, please stay with your mother', she answered 'I left to fight for all the mothers of the world. I cannot stay here."
Source: Newsha Tavakolian/TIME
Fallen female soldiers appear on a billboard which reads, “With
you we live on and life continues.” Source: Newsha Tavakolian/TIME
Female soldiers carry the casket of Evrim in Derek City, Syria. Evrim was killed while combatting ISIS members.