BY: NADIA ZAIDI
Kimberly Taylor is the first British woman to join the fight against ISIS in Syria. She has joined the Women’s Protection Units, which is the all-female affiliate army of the People’s Protection Units of Kurdistan.
She’s one of hundreds of women who are fighting against Isis, and is giving us deep insights into the conditions of men, women, and children in war-torn Syria. It’s a cause that she admits will likely result in her dying. Still, she’s committed to reclaiming Raqqa, which remains under strong ISIS grips.
Taylor didn’t always want to be a freedom fighter. In fact, she spent her early 20s as a hitchhiker and nomad, simply travelling the world to explore her horizons. But it was during her travels when she became interested in political activism, and began to write for several left-wing publications.
Taylor spent a little less than a year to learn Kurdish and studied regional politics, weaponry, as well as battlefield tactics. She was motivated by her friend – a YPJ fighter, whose village was devastated by ISIS soldiers.
Her friend was from a pro-Assad family. After her friend’s eight-year-old sister was discovered writing ‘Without our leader, there is no life’ on a nearby wall, members of ISIS ran over her with a car several times until they pushed her off a building.
Taylor’s main job is to record militia operations and to write battlefield reports, photographs and video footage. Many times, she is fighting on the front end when her unit comes under attack.
And it was one particular moment that validated her decision to commit her life to helping the Syrian population. A Yazidi man refused to leave because jihadis were holding two of her daughters captive.
She did not tell her family that she was planning on joining the fight against ISIS in this capacity. They found out after she arrived.
It’s almost hard to remember a time when we scrolled through the news without reading about the Syrian war. President Bashar al-Assad loyalist groups, and those who oppose him have been imbued in a civil war that began over five years ago. Their waters are red.
Pro-democracy protests turned volatile in March 2011 in the Southern city of Deraa. Teenagers painted slogans on a school wall, and were arrested and tortured. Protesters were also gunned down and killed on the streets.
This ignited nationwide protests demanding the president’s resignation. Assad’s government used force to respond to protestors. Those in support of the opposition eventually took up arms in defence of themselves and security forces.
Today, the conflict is about more than just a battle between those in favour of, and in opposition of Assad. Jihadist militants have also compounded it.
Taylor – like so many women and men who serve to preserve the rights and freedom of those in question – is an example of righteousness and honour.
Syria is a country that is fragmented and tainted with wounds so profound they rival the deepest seas. Countless civilians are losing their lives over miscommunications and petty, misguided frustrations against a regime that has long duped its people. Stolen innocence, barbarianism, brutality and misuse of religiosity are reoccurring themes to no avail.
Global intervention has led to the extraction of militant members and the refuge of thousands of refugees. But it’s not enough. Truthfully, I don’t know if it ever will be.