Inside Kobani: The female fighters taking on Isis

Video: Women are playing a key role in the battle against Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq

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The Independent Online

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that the US-led coalition was causing serious damage to Islamic State insurgents in Iraq and Syria.

While US airstrikes have evidently helped the fight against Isis in the region, another group have also had an impact in combating the Islamic militants: women.

An Associated Press report from Kobani, Sryia, reveals that female fighters are playing a major role in the war against Isis.

The AP spoke to 19-year-old Pervin Kobani, the daughter of a farmer from the town. She left Kobani two years ago in order to join the Syrian-Kurdish Women's Self Defence Force (YPJ).

Now, with the fight against Isis moving to Kobani, she has returned to her hometown.

"I didn't really have any other ambitions. I just wanted to live a free life, as a woman be able to see our reality, and have our rights and just live," she said, explaining why she joined the YPJ two years ago.

Returning to Kobani after so long away, she bumped into her father, Farouk Kobani, on a street corner. He too is now a fighter against Isis.

"My feeling at that time was very happy, honestly when I heard my father is fighting on the western front I was so proud of him and it made me want to fight more," she said.

Her father added, "I always say to her that when you get into a fight, just keep your mind on the fighting".

The besieged Syrian border city has been under attack by Islamic State militants since mid-September, when it captured part of the town.

Kurdish fighters have been making up ground in Kobani since late October when well-armed Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters joined Syrian Kurds fighting against an Isis insurgency in the area.

John Kerry said the US had carried out around 1,000 air strikes in Iraq and Syria against Isis, yet he stressed that the fight would take years to conclude.

"Our commitment will be measured most likely in years but our efforts are already having a significant impact," Kerry said.

He added that the siege of Kobani had been blocked and that within Syria itself, Isis command facilities had been destroyed and its oil infrastructure damaged.

The Associated Press is running a series of five exclusive reports to illustrate ongoing fighting and daily life inside Kobani, Syria.