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Stanley Greene ©Noorimages April 2013..The minaret of Syria's famous 12th-Century Umayyad Mosque in the northern city of Aleppo is destroyed as rebels clash with government ..Al Tawheed Group / Free syrian Army control the old city of Aleppo , but there are regime snipers everywhere . ..Fighters running to escape snipers who are targeting them inside the old Mosque ...Worn out, and soul of dust, you twist and turn amid the piled sandbags to escape the never ending snipers. How long does it take?, you ask, your nerves crumbling, how far is it? - and only now you do understand this war; when in the middle of nowhere, Alaa says: It's here..Because of the ancient souk of Aleppo, the most charming 4,000 sqm of the Middle East, the most famous postcard of Syria, a vertigo of voices, and tales colors, an overflow of life, now this is all that remains: rubble. Your feet that you walk in and sink until the ankles, bented spikes of rusty iron bars, shattered glasses, metal sheets, bullet-ridden blown up shutters. Powder and stones. Nothing else. But really nothing else. Rebels drag you around alley by alley, shop by shop as if you were a tourist; this is the cotton market, they explain you, this is the gold market, on your right you find the spices, down there is the silver. And they are but rubble. Here is where brides come to buy their gowns, and they point out the butt of something, here their wedding band - verbs in present tense: and you see but nothing. There's not even a rat, here. (KEYSTONE/NOOR/Stanley Greene)
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Stanley Greene © Noorimages April 2013 ..Aleppo city's embattled district of Sheikh Maqsud,Snipers rule the roofs and the streets ...Engizek commander of the YPK Brigade Zenar ( Kurdish Fighters ) confronts a Al-Nusra Front commander who is upset that her fighters fired on his fighters , by mistake , as she explains , you entered are area and did not not announce your presence here , my people have been ordered to shoot anyone who enters this area , there are many infiltrators , and spies , this is our front , and we control it the way we want . ., .Al-Nusra Front ( foreign fighters , fighting the regime ) The presence of women fighters in conservative Syrian society inspires both awe and shock.."They are not women -- they are men," said one Al-Nusra Front commander with a bulbous beard. "A real woman is more feminine.".He said he was particularly opposed to women on the front line because their presence can "seriously distract male fighters"..."There's no need for women to pick up the gun," says most of the Free Syrian said. "There are so many men out there.".Engizek's comrades dismissed such a view as "retarded".."This country will not be free until women are free," said Lokman Abusalam, a 41-year-old fighter, adding that his male comrades have no problem in reporting to a female commander..Engizek said the ascendancy of radical Islamist groups in Syria's messy civil war has led to concerns that they may begin trampling women's rights..She expressed particular dismay about the rise of the Islamist Al-Nusra Front, which has announced its affiliation to Al-Qaeda.."We are not willing to collaborate with those who don't accept women's rights," she said. "As a group we cannot accept that. As a woman, I cannot accept that.".. (KEYSTONE/NOOR/)
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Stanley Greene © Noorimages April 2013 ..Aleppo city's embattled district of Sheikh Maqsud,Snipers rule the roofs and the streets . ..Sitting the smallest in a group of fighters waiting for orders of the day is 18-year-old Mumtaz who says joining the rebellion more than a year ago was a "liberating experience"..The only fighter in her family of four, she says she morphed overnight from an unknown high school girl to a warrior after she joined a YPG training camp in her hometown of Afrin, a largely Kurdish town north of Aleppo.."Picking up the gun was a personal choice," said the sinewy bandana-clad fighter, a choice that bestowed freedom from rigid social mores that deem marriage the only culturally appropriate rite of passage for women..s she spoke, her comrades, both men and women, took a break from duty in a nearby room of a deserted and desolate former beauty parlor smoking, chatting and eating , Women live separately from male fighters and relationships are strictly forbidden. ..The Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) brigade is 20 percent women -- are the hidden face of Syria's armed rebellion against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, now in its third year..The YPG, which recently joined forces with Syrian opposition rebels, is the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), widely considered the Syrian offshoot of Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)..Unlike their Arab counterparts, Kurdish women have a long tradition of combat roles. The PKK's fierce women fighters grabbed worldwide attention in the mid-1990s with their frightening zeal in launching suicide bombings..But women combatants, no matter what their ethnicity, still stand out as a striking anomaly in Syria's male-dominated rebellion..Some media reports indicate that women are part of both pro- and anti-regime armed forces, but their presence is far less visible on the front lines compared to Kurdish fighters..Engizek, who goes by a single name, says the YPG's (KEYSTONE/NOOR/)
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