Raw: Kurdish Female Force Trains for War

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An elite group of Kurdish women in Northern Iraq are training to be peshmerga, as the self-ruled region's militia is known, declaring they are ready to fight on the frontline. (July 4)

RESTRICTION SUMMARY: AP CLIENTS ONLY

SHOTLIST

AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

1. Wide of female members of the peshmerga, the militia of the self-rule Kurdish region, marching

2. Women peshmerga during assault training

3. Women peshmerga lying on the ground

4. Close up of women peshmerga

5. Various of frontline assault training

6. Various of women peshmerga resting after training

7. Various of training

8. Various of women peshmerga cheering and shouting "Long live Kurdistan"

STORYLINE

Some Kurdish women living in Northern Iraq were training to be peshmerga, as the self-ruled Kurdish region's militia is known, and declared themselves ready to fight on the frontline against militants of the Islamic State group.

Despite the soaring temperatures and daylight fasting for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the women were training hard at their base in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah in Northern Iraq.

The soldiers are part of an elite female unit of peshmerga.

Nahida Ahmad Rashid is the commander and one of the founders of regiment back in 1996.

"There is no difference between a women's regiment and a men's regiment," she said, adding that "this regiment has been more successful in terms of training and duties than the men's regiment."

Kurdish women fighters have a long tradition in this part of Northern Iraq, and these female trainees are preparing for a possible deployment to the frontlines to fight Islamic militants.

Following the collapse of the Iraqi Army in this part of the country, the peshmerga are one of the few military forces aiming to stabilise a region in turmoil.

The peshmerga has seized territory in recent weeks amid the chaos of the Islamic militants' blitz across northern and western Iraq.

The gains are helping fuel sentiment among Kurds to declare independence.

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