portfolio-4.jpg
We Are The YPJ
We Are The YPJ

In the dry and desolate terrain along Syria’s northeastern border, thousands of female soldiers are fighting an incalculably dangerous war. They are the YPJ, or the Women's Protection Unit - an all-women Kurdish military faction in Syria that formed in 2012 to defend the local population against the deadly attacks led by Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, the al-Nusra Front (an al-Qaeda affiliate), and ISIS or the so-called Islamic State.  Some 10,000 volunteers from all over Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey, Iran and elsewhere have joined the YPJ, which grew out of the wider Kurdish resistance movement and began as an offshoot of the larger YPG. The YPJ are closely linked to the PKK, the “Kurdish People's Defense Force”, a left-wing militant organization who follow the leadership of Abdullah Ocalan. For the YPJ and their families, fighting is often less of a choice and more a means necessary for survival, while choosing the lifestyle of a female soldier also provides an outlet for women to play a role counter to their culture's traditional roles for women. ISIS militants, who believe they will be deprived of heaven if killed by a woman, fear being killed by the female YPJ more than they do male soldiers. As one soldier, Sael Morad, 20, put it, "we can do all the same things that men can do; women can do everything, there is nothing impossible for us.”

YPJ-forwebsite-21.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-17.jpg
Web PKK-31.jpg
YPJ-portraits-9.jpg
YPJ-portraits-3.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-9.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-6.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-2.jpg
YPJ-portraits-5.jpg
YPJ-portraits-6.jpg
Web PKK-27.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-1.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-4.jpg
YPJ-portraits-13.jpg
YPJ-portraits-14.jpg
Web PKK-30.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-11.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-16.jpg
ypj-forwebsite-23.jpg
Web PKK-26.jpg
YPJ-portraits-2.jpg
YPJ-portraits-7.jpg
YPJ-portraits-18.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-12.jpg
Web PKK-25.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-8.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-18.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-13.jpg
YPJ-portraits-16.jpg
YPJ-portraits-15.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-14.jpg
Web PKK-29.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-20.jpg
YPJ-portraits-12.jpg
YPJ-portraits-11.jpg
Web PKK-32.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-19.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-15.jpg
Web PKK-28.jpg
YPJ-portraits-10.jpg
portfolio-4.jpg
We Are The YPJ
YPJ-forwebsite-21.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-17.jpg
Web PKK-31.jpg
YPJ-portraits-9.jpg
YPJ-portraits-3.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-9.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-6.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-2.jpg
YPJ-portraits-5.jpg
YPJ-portraits-6.jpg
Web PKK-27.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-1.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-4.jpg
YPJ-portraits-13.jpg
YPJ-portraits-14.jpg
Web PKK-30.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-11.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-16.jpg
ypj-forwebsite-23.jpg
Web PKK-26.jpg
YPJ-portraits-2.jpg
YPJ-portraits-7.jpg
YPJ-portraits-18.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-12.jpg
Web PKK-25.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-8.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-18.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-13.jpg
YPJ-portraits-16.jpg
YPJ-portraits-15.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-14.jpg
Web PKK-29.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-20.jpg
YPJ-portraits-12.jpg
YPJ-portraits-11.jpg
Web PKK-32.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-19.jpg
YPJ-forwebsite-15.jpg
Web PKK-28.jpg
YPJ-portraits-10.jpg
We Are The YPJ

In the dry and desolate terrain along Syria’s northeastern border, thousands of female soldiers are fighting an incalculably dangerous war. They are the YPJ, or the Women's Protection Unit - an all-women Kurdish military faction in Syria that formed in 2012 to defend the local population against the deadly attacks led by Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, the al-Nusra Front (an al-Qaeda affiliate), and ISIS or the so-called Islamic State.  Some 10,000 volunteers from all over Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey, Iran and elsewhere have joined the YPJ, which grew out of the wider Kurdish resistance movement and began as an offshoot of the larger YPG. The YPJ are closely linked to the PKK, the “Kurdish People's Defense Force”, a left-wing militant organization who follow the leadership of Abdullah Ocalan. For the YPJ and their families, fighting is often less of a choice and more a means necessary for survival, while choosing the lifestyle of a female soldier also provides an outlet for women to play a role counter to their culture's traditional roles for women. ISIS militants, who believe they will be deprived of heaven if killed by a woman, fear being killed by the female YPJ more than they do male soldiers. As one soldier, Sael Morad, 20, put it, "we can do all the same things that men can do; women can do everything, there is nothing impossible for us.”

show thumbnails