Qamishli, Syria -- Shamiran Shimon, head of the Syriac [Assyrian] Women's Union (SWU) in Syria and Vice President of the Auto-Administration in Hasakah province, said in an exclusive interview with ARA News: "We are in the process of forming a military battalion for Syriac women to join the Kurdish Women Protection Units (YPJ) in the fight against terrorists of the Islamic State."
She said that Syriac women are prepared to join the fighting fronts side by side with the Kurdish female fighters of the YPJ in northeastern Syria.
"The YPJ represents steadfastness and the real will of women to overcome decades of suppression in the region. Thus we'll be honored to cooperate with them in the fight against terrorists of ISIS," Shimon said.
The SWU's head pointed out that the YPJ military force gained worldwide respect for their bravery at the front lines, adding that the new battalion of the Syriac women will be committed to the same objective in protecting their towns and villages in northeastern Syria against jihadists.
"Women have been obscured and persecuted by the masculine communities in our region. However, time for change has come and we won't accept staying indoors anymore. This is the time for our women to show their willingness to maintain civil peace and build a civil society in which they can play an active role alongside men," she told ARA News.
Coordination with YPJ
The Syriac Women's Union (SWU) launched last week a military training campaign among Syriac female volunteers.
Kurdish female fighters of the YPJ started training dozens of young Syriac women on use of weapons and fighting methods in preparation to join the fighting fronts against militants of the Islamic State in the countryside of Hasakah.
"Our main objective of forming this battalion and joining the fight against terrorism is to protect civilians and stop the mass displacement of families due to ISIS attacks," Shimon told ARA News. "Additionally, the Syriac women will this way guarantee their equal rights in the future."
Guardians of Civil Society
According to the head of SWU, Syriac women have contributed to the activation of civil society in Hasakah province in the past few years, through launching several campaigns concerned with women's rights and holding various cultural activities to promote coexistence among Christians, Kurds and Arabs in the province.
"We also tend to promote an effective woman participation in politics in our areas," she said.
"Our women have been able to constitute the Syriac Women's Union as an independent institution in order to participate in the decision-making process on different levels."
Syriac Women Suppressed
Shimon indicated that Syriac women have suffered suppression over decades, "especially after the Sifo massacre by the Turks in 1915 and the trauma those women suffered following the scenes of slaughter, rape and abduction."
"This scenario was repeated months ago on the hands of ISIS terrorists near Tel Temir town in Hasakah province, northeastern Syria, as many women have been abducted and exposed to sexual harassment," she said.
"On the other hand, Christian religious authorities have always prevented woman freedom in our region," Shimon said, adding it's time to overcome all the constraints and regain women's rights in Syria.
Fight for a Better Future
Shimon told ARA News that the SWU tries to organize the ranks of Syriac women to play a greater role in society and build, together with Kurds and local communities, a better future for women in the region.
"The Syriac Women Union aims to guarantee equality and freedom in our society. We aspire for a better future without dictatorship or terrorism," she concluded.