According to reports linked to Syria’s foreign-backed opposition forces, militants from al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) set up ‘al-Khansa’ and ‘Um Riyan’ brigades in Syria’s Raqqa, one of the group’s main bases located in north central part of the country.
The new brigades only accept single women aged between 18 to 25 and give them a monthly salary worth 25 thousands SYP (Syrian pound).
They are mainly used for inspecting women in Raqqa, where the group has been imposing its own version of law marked with extremist religious beliefs for months now.
The al-Sharq al-Owsat quoted an opposition commander named 'Ibrahim Muslem' as saying that, “There have been reports of some anti ISIL activists wearing women clothing such as niqab to pass through security checkpoints”.
“Setting up female brigades was the only solution for ISIL to confront this issue, because ISIL could not inspect women, but now it has become possible by forming women brigades,” he was quoted as saying.
The ISIL first came into Raqqa on May 15, 2013, and swiftly executed men they said were working for the government.
According to locals, at first they seemed a rebel group and a better-organized alternative to the rebels who occupied the city earlier but failed to bring governance or peace for months.
A broader agenda slowly emerged afterwards and began to gather pace each week with al-Qaeda getting more power and more extreme.
Syria sank into war in March 2011 when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.
The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.