World

'I Need To Protect My Country': Kurdish School Teacher Becomes Rebel Sniper Against ISIS Militants

| by Kendal Mitchell
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A Kurdish woman left her teaching position in a grammar school to become a sniper in a militia group aimed to fight ISIS.

In the five months since Denis Sipan joined the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, a local military enclave known as YPG, the Kurdish forces have reclaimed around 50 villages formerly under ISIS control.

“If we didn’t do it, the whole place will be full of ISIS, and they’ll destroy everything,” Sipan told CBS News.

Kurdish militia forces, like Sipan’s YPG enclave, forced ISIS out of Kobane, a city on the border of Syria and Turkey on Monday.

ISIS fighters overtook around 300 towns during military offenses last September, before finally taking control of Kobane later that month.

Sipan fights against ISIS’s spread in northern Syria alongside other volunteers including local wheat-farmers, housewives and shop owners.

Around two million Kurds live in Syria, according to World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples. Roughly 35 to 40 percent of Syrian Kurds live in the foothills near the Taurus Mountains in northern Syria.

BBC News reports fighting in northern Syria has left roughly 1,600 people dead, including 1,196 ISIS jihadists, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Despite the military success, Sipan said she shares the rifle she bought on the black market with another person because of the lack of resources within the militia group.

She added she thinks the YPG and other rebel groups fighting against ISIS are under-equipped and need more weapons to combat jihadist fighters.

As YPG land forces make advances against ISIS, U.S.-led coalition airstrikes continue to strike Islamic State targets near Kobane.

When asked if she planned to return to the Kurdish school where she previously taught, Sipan said she did not see herself in the classroom anytime soon.

“I need to protect myself, my friends, my people, and my country,” Sipan said.

Sources: Daily Mail, CBS NewsWorld Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, BBC

Photo Credit: CBS News Screenshots via Daily Mail