On Thursday, October 16, activists of the National Security Communication Task Force sponsored a Twitter Rally to lobby Congress for action to stop ISIS and protect the Kurds, Christians, Yazidis, and others victimized by the brutal Islamic “State.”
Messages such as #SupportTheKurds, #SaveKobani, #DefeatISIS, #ArmTheKurds, etc. were tweeted in an effort to push for more U.S. action to stop the brutal Islamists. And even as those tweets were flying, the war against ISIS was being fought on the ground by Syrian rebels and both male and female Kurdish soldiers, as well as by unusual new reinforcements — from the Netherlands and Germany.
Thank you to all of you who joined the Twitter Rally. There were many participants tweeting seriously for the first time. Passionate about impacting U.S. Iraq/Syria/ISIS policy, their goal was to push the U.S. government into arming the only official fighting force truly standing against the caliphate-builders right now: the Kurds.
Some participants had never even tweeted before, but National Security Communication Task Force leader Lisa Benson and her team led them into this new arena of messaging and using social media. Lisa explained the importance to religious freedom and national security advocates of using Twitter to communicate to Congress because many members of Congress monitor their own personal Twitter accounts. It is an easy way to send them messages that reach them directly.
The Twitter Rally was very successful. #SupportTheKurds reached 800 tweets per hour. This particular message also trended in the National Security category.
In future Twitter Rallies, it might be necessary to not only say #SupportTheKurds, but add messages about the courageous, eclectic group that has come together to fight ISIS.
As far back as the end of July, reports surfaced about a Syrian guerrilla group called “White Shroud,” that was fighting ISIS’s fire with fire, using terrorist tactics. A July 24, 2014 article in Offiziere.ch reveals that the group, whose name comes from the burial shrouds in which they will wrap dead ISIS members, conducts “secret assassinations, raids and surveillance” of ISIS targets. White Shroud “uses improvised explosive devices, and stages attacks on ISIS gatherings at a distance with silenced sniper weapons,” according to the article, and also “engages in kidnapping.”
Fighting under Commander Abu Aboud, 80 percent of White Shroud’s men have never been involved in combat before. “We trained them and they joined White Shroud because of the great oppression they felt after Islamic State took control,” Aboud explains in an article in the International Business Times on October 15. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that other guerrilla groups have sprung up to aid White Shroud in the fight against ISIS. An October 16 Christian Post article names the “Phantom Brigade” and the “Brigade of the Angel of Death” as two such nemeses of ISIS.
U.S. airstrikes have been ineffective, according to White Shroud commander Aboud. He says that they had done nothing to destroy or degrade ISIS, only to disperse the fighters. This situation seems to have changed with the most recent airstrikes, though. A Daily Mail Online article of October 19 explains that thanks to the brave Kurds fighting “street to street battles” with ISIS, the Islamist terrorist group is “out in the open for lengthy periods, where American and Arab warplanes can easily pick the fighters off.”
Perhaps it sounds sexist, but another group of fighters against ISIS is even more awe-inspiring — because they are women. The Yekineyen Parastina Jin, or YPJ, more commonly known as the Kurdish Women’s Protection Unit, is the thousands-strong, all-female wing of the YPG, or People’s Protection Unit militia. Many of these brave women were already engaged in the fight against the other evil monsters, Jabhat al-Nusra, when ISIS reared its ugly head.
In August the IJReview introduced the 2nd Peshmerga Battalion of women in an article entitled appropriately “Meet ISIS’s Worst Nightmare: An All-Women Battalion of Kurdish Fighters.” At that point, the women had not yet met ISIS on the field of battle. But not long after that, these soldiers’ accomplishments in combat, as well as the striking beauty of many of them, was bringing them great renown.
On October 17, Daily Mail Online profiled one Kurdish young woman warrior who fought in the battle to defend Kobani, her home town, from ISIS. Nesrin Abdi, 20, is the daughter of a doctor. She was in her second year of medical school herself when she was compelled to take up arms.
Nesrin, who was among the fighters that recaptured a strategic hill in Kobani from ISIS a few days before, explains why ISIS is terrified of the women warriors. “For Daesh [an Arabic term for IS], to be killed by a woman means he will not go to Heaven,” she says. “When we fight them, we are fierce and we let them know they are being killed by women,” she adds.
Daily Mail Online reporters observed from a nearby hill in Turkey, that “in the heat of battle, the female Kurdish fighters issue a chilling war cry — a shrill warble — to announce their presence to their black-clad foes.” Nesrin says that because in the culture of ISIS women are nothing but slaves, treated “as objects whose lives are worth nothing,” it is therefore “so, so important that it is women fighting IS.”
The women of the YPJ and their male counterparts have had some great successes. Middle East and anti-terrorism expert, author Dr. Walid Phares, was briefed by Syriac Christian leaders that are allies to the Kurds about the battle of Kobani. “The city was pronounced falling by Washington and Ankara but not by the fighters on the ground,” he revealed. “ISIS is being pushed back by the people,” Phares states.
The women soldiers “joke optimistically that ‘when the war is won by women’ they will make men do the washing-up for evermore,” the Daily Mail Online reports. It will be a beautiful irony if ISIS is defeated by an army of women. They would not only save their peoples and homelands, but get revenge for the tens of thousands of women that ISIS has oppressed, persecuted, stoned, raped, sold into slavery, and killed.
Now there are new reinforcements in the fight against ISIS. Members of Dutch and German biker gangs have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join those who battling the Islamic State. The first report of such a group came from The Netherlands, from a motorcycle gang called “No Surrender.” A Washington Post article on October 16 says that the No Surrender members who have gone to the front lines are all believed to be ex-military or Dutch Special Forces.
Fox News also reported on No Surrender, saying, “Members of a massive Dutch motorcycle gang, armed with Kalashnikov rifles, recently joined Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq, vowing to “exterminate the rodents.” And most recently, a Daily Mail Online article reports that members of a German biker gang based in Cologne, the “Median Empire Motorcycle Club,” named after an ancient Iranian empire, are now joining the Dutch bikers reporting for duty in Kobani. A Breitbart London article on October 17 tells that on their Facebook page, a proud supporter of Median Empire declared, “While others blabber and blabber, our boys are at the front fighting Isis.”
While not as many Europeans are going to Iraq and Syria to fight against the jihadists as are going to to join them, it is without doubt encouraging for the Kurdish fighters to have these big, intimidating, leather-clad, war-seasoned men joining their side. The Dutch government has even promised that the Dutch bikers who have gone to support the Kurds will face no prosecution. Hopefully U.S. support will increase, as well, particularly in providing the weapons that the Kurds and others need to match ISIS’s firepower.