- Feb 23, 2009
A prominent female Kurdish "freedom fighter" may have been executed by beheading, according to unconfirmed reports on social media.
The young woman, who went by the nom du guerre "Rehana" became a symbol of the Kurdish resistance movement when pro-Kurdish journalist Pawan Durani tweeted a picture of her giving a peace sign.
"Rehana has killed more than 100 ISIS terrorists in Kobane," his tweet read.
There has been no independent verification of the claim, but the photo went viral, receiving more than 5000 retweets.
Female Kurdish fighters of the Yekineyen Parastina Jin (YPJ), or Women Protection Units are involved in the struggle for the key Syrian border town of Kobane.
The town of Kobane has become a crucial battleground in the war against ISIL, representing the gateway to northern Syria and the Turkish border.
This brave and unique force of women are highly trained, committed and fearless, in a fight that represents the survival of an entire people.
They believe that in their fight there is no difference between a man and a woman, but are aware they fight an enemy that routinely rapes the women it captures before butchering them or selling them into slavery.
Now there is speculation that Rehana has been captured or killed, with gruesome photos purporting to show her decapitated body circulating on social media. But the death is unconfirmed.
Rehana, purportedly a member of the YPJ, has became a symbol of a Kurdish militia movement that includes many women, with some estimating that one in three people engaging in the armed defence of Kobane are female.
More than 800 people have been killed in ground fighting for Kobane since Islamic State group militants attacked the Syrian Kurdish enclave on September 16.
The jihadists have lost 481 dead, while 313 Kurds have been killed fighting to defend the area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The figures do not include ISIL losses to US-led air strikes, which the Pentagon has said run to "several hundred."
Civilians accounted for 21 of the dead. The jihadist assault prompted nearly all of the enclave's population to flee, with some 200,000 refugees streaming over the border into neighbouring Turkey.
Kurdish fighters have kept up a dogged resistance inside the border town, buoyed by coalition air support and US arms drops earlier this month.
Earlier this month it was reported that a female Kurdish fighter had carried out a suicide bomb attack against ISIL forces in her defence of Kobane, killing several jihadists who had surrounded the town.
ISIL forces are believed to be just one kilometre from the town.
Read more at Iconic female warrior 'beheaded' on front line with ISIL - 9news.com.au