The Angel of Kobane: The poster girl for the resistance against ISIS

By Alexa Gagosz

The poster girl for the Kurdish freedom fighters has had her picture shared with thousands around the world as the “Angel of Kobane,” becoming a symbol of resistance against the ISIS.

According to the stories from soldiers, reports from BBC claim the poster girl, known as Rehana, has slain as many as 100 ISIS fighters.

Rehana has become the image not only for the resistance, but also for women revolting against ISIS. The group, also known as ISIL or as the Islamic State, lacks respect for women’s rights. As the photo of Rehana trends on Twitter and Facebook, some have questioned whether she is the real “angel.”

According to BBC, the woman was photographed in August before a ceremony for volunteers while wearing a military style uniform. Carl Drott, a Swedish journalist, was the only international journalist in the area at the time, and said he had a short exchange with her before the ceremony. Drott explained to BBC she was not a front-line fighter at all, but instead a volunteer, and sometimes aided the local police force. Drott added that it is very unlikely  the woman in the photograph killed large numbers of ISIS fighters.

Courtesy of Twitter

“She came up to me and said she used to study law in Aleppo, but that Islamic State had killed her father so she had decided to join these forces herself,” Drott told BBC. “I tried to speak to her afterwards but never managed to find her or get her name.”

Reports from BBC say that the name “Rehana” came later on.

The image was allegedly posted on a blog called “Bijikurdistan” the following day in August. The story of the woman raised questions among journalists and began trending across social media.

According to reports from BBC, on Oct. 5, rumors of Rehana’s death began to spread when an influential Saudi Twitter user tweeted a picture to her 200,000 followers that a Kurdish woman had been beheaded by ISIS. On Oct. 10, the Kurdistan Army’s Twitter account shared the image alongside the picture of “Rehana.” The rumors continued.

Reports by The Daily Mail in the U.K. said Rehana’s friends claimed, “Rehana is alive and well … ISIS fanatics have not beheaded her.”

A journalist who is currently stationed in Kobane told The Daily Mail, “’She is my friend and I confirm that she is alive. And the picture of beheaded female fighter is not Rehana’s picture. She is in Turkey. I will try to gain her number because I lost the connection with her. She evacuated Kobane and I stayed in Kobane. At the beginning of the last clashes Rehana left Kobane.”

The journalist said that he saw Rehana leave Kobane during intense fighting last week. Although they have lost temporary contact, according to BBC, he told reporters that mutual friends said that she is safe in Turkey.

According to BBC, an Indian blogger,  Pawan Durani, who describes himself as an activist, has posted other images of female Kurdish fighters on his Twitter account, and he is not alone. Her story has spread across social media as newswriters have dubbed her the “Angel of Kobane.”

A Kurdish blogger Ruwayda Mustafah told BBC, “She captivated everyone with her pretty eyes and blonde hair. She has a huge fan base. Everyone that I come across admires her because she symbolizes what everyone wants to see. That women and men are standing up against barbaric force in the region.”