In 19 years, Asia Ramazan Antar, endured, and achieved, more than most people do in a long, unhurried life. By the age of 17, Antar had been married and divorced. At 18, she joined the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) in Syria. After completing her military training, she went to the frontline to fight IS militants.
Antar is believed to have been killed battling an Islamic State suicide car bomber on August 30. Reports state that she fought valiantly to the very end. Antar was one of the Kurdish fighters guarding the village of al-Yashli when the militants attacked. She is said to have died immediately when the suicide car bombs exploded.
Commander Shirin Abdullah said,
She and her fellows blew up two of them but the last was very close to her when it exploded.
Antar was dubbed the “Kurdish Angelina Jolie” by Western media for her good looks, after some pictures of her were shared on social media. This nickname has been criticized by many, especially her fellow soldiers. They consider it an insult to all that she was and everything she accomplished.
So much more than the pretty face the nickname reduces her to, Asia was among the highest ranks of the all-female Women’s Protection Units. She is said to have joined the YPJ forces in 2014 hoping to free the women of her village from patriarchal domination.
Antar may have perished in the pursuit of that dream, thousands of women just like her continue to fight for a better world — a world that treats women with dignity and respect. A world that recognizes that women are people, too!