REBEL WOMEN: Two all-female armed opposition battalions from East Ghouta targeted a military hospital and a regime checkpoint near the Damascus suburb of Qudsayya in a video posted online Wednesday. The battalions’ video indicates the rising military participation of women as the opposition attempts to weaken the regime’s blockade of East Ghouta, the site of the August 21 chemical attacks that killed more than 1,400 people.
“We are collaborating to provide freedom by targeting the strongholds of the regime, wherever they are,” said the unnamed commander of the Mothers of Ghouta’s Martyrs, shown alongside a battalion named the Free Women of East Ghouta.
“In case of any incursion into East Ghouta, we will be steadfast and will defeat them, with the help of God,” says the battalion’s commander.
Syrian women have participated in the opposition as citizen journalists, nurses and doctors in field hospitals, though their political representation in the opposition remains low. Over the course of the war, female-only brigades have emerged in Assad’s forces, opposition brigades and Kurdish forces.
Opposition activists report that the Assad regime currently counts more than 40,000 women among its 201,000 prisoners, though some organizations estimate lower numbers. Recently, 62 Syrian women were released in a wide-ranging prisoner exchange between the Assad regime, Lebanese forces and the Free Syrian Army.