The Battle for Raqqa
On the frontline with the female Kurdish fighters liberating Raqqa from the group that calls itself Islamic State and fighting for recognition of their own rights as women.
On the frontline with the female Kurdish fighters liberating Raqqa and fighting for equality. Gabriel Gatehouse meets these extraordinary women as he reports from the besieged Syrian town which has been in the hands of the group that calls itself Islamic State since 2014. The Kurdish fighters are led by a woman called “Sonxuin” whose name means “Red Blood”.
They’re there to bring about an end to the brutal regime of Islamic State and its self-declared caliphate. Raqqa is now surrounded by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed force made up largely of an alliance of Arabs and Kurds. It may be months before the city falls, but when it does it will mean – effectively – the end of the IS caliphate. But what then?
At stake is the status of Syria’s Kurds, seeking a degree of self-governance in the midst of a still unfinished war. And for Sonxuin and her fighters at stake is their right to be recognised as equal members of their community.
Produced by Peter Emmerson and Arlene Gregorius.
(Photo: Kurdish commander “Sonxuin”, which means Red Blood, leads around a thousand fighters on the Raqqa front lines in Syria)