QABRE HEWORE, Syria — SuroyoTV correspondent in the town of Tel Tamr Ahmed Samila spoke with several members of the Beth Nahrin Women’s Protection Force (Ḥaylawotho d’Sutoro d’Neshe d’Beth Nahrin, HSNB) to shed light on their goals and experiences.
The HSNB is an all-women Syriac military force headquartered in Qabre Hewore (Al-Qahtaniyah) mobilized in many cities and towns across North and East Syria.
The HSNB are considered equivalent to the forces of the Syriac Military Council (Mawtbo Fulḥoyo Suryoyo, MFS) and were formed in August 2015. The group has participated in numerous campaigns against the Islamic State (ISIS) and other extremist forces targeting the predominantly Syriac–Assyrian Khabur River Valley and other parts of North and East Syria. They also participation in the difficult campaign to liberate Raqqa from ISIS and now defend North and East Syria from Turkey and its Syrian National Army (SNA) proxies.
One HSNB leader told SuroyoTV that, “When the Islamic State entered the villages of the Khabur in 2015, we organized ourselves and formed the HSNB with the aim of defending the freedom and principles of women.”
“Previously, women did not have the freedom required to express their opinion and work freely, so we, as HSNB, formed the basis for the freedom of woman,” she added.
“We are here because we do not want the Sayfo Genocide against our people to be repeated,” said an HSNB fighter.
“Our people are in danger, so we joined the HSNB in order to strengthen ourselves and defend our children and homeland,” she continued. ” In the Sayfo Genocide, women were raped and murdered, their homes and villages looted. We will not allow the same to happen again.”
Another HSNB fighter stated, “We had the opportunity to take up arms and participate in the Al-Shadadi and Al-Hol, Mabbug (Manbij), Hasakah, and many military campaigns to eliminate ISIS.”
“Women should have strength and morale, which enable them to secure their rights and fight against their oppression,” she added.
One of the HSNB fighters talked about the policies practiced against women by extremist forces, saying, “ISIS, Turkey, Al-Nusra Front, all want to suppress the voice of women, break their will and prevent their freedom. They all have the same policy towards women, regardless of if they are Syriacs, Arabs, or Kurds.”
“I call on all women to express their opinions freely, whether they are political or social, and I call on all peoples, especially Syriac women, to join us and be together hand in hand,” she concluded.