YPJ to hold symposium on ‘women and defence’

Two YPJ fighters enjoy a moment together in Syria.

The Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) operating in northern Syria’s autonomous region Rojava, will hold a two-day symposium on women and defence.

Organisers of the event have said the symposium will discuss the “effect of war on women and children, the importance of self-defence in a patriarchal world, and the role of women in self defence.”

Women’s organisations from the Middle East and around the globe will attend the symposium, organisers said.

The YPJ hit headlines in 2014 as an all-female unit fighting the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq. Since then the force has grown to include many Arab, Assyrian, Turkish and international fighters.

A commander of the YPJ, Rojda Felat, is also leading the Wrath of Euphrates Operation to capture Raqqa, IS’s last stronghold in Syria.

The reportedly 20,000 strong fighting force adheres to a form of feminism called ‘Jineology’, which broadly means ‘the science of women’, and say they are not just fighting IS but also patriarchal and sexist mentality.

The group has been credited with saving hundreds of women enslaved by jihadist extremists.