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Narin Afrin (b. c. 1974) is the nom de guerre of Meysa Abdo, a leader of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Women's Protection Units (YPJ), and Kobane resistance, notably during the 2014–2015 Siege of Kobanî.


Narin Afrin was a resistance leader during the 2014–2015 Siege of Kobanî, representing the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG)[1] and Peshmerga fighters.[2] The resistance group, the People's Protection Units (YPG), is secular, politically left, and the armaments of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).[1] She also leads the Women's Protection Units (YPJ), an all-female force.[3]

Afrin is the nom de guerre of Meysa Abdo,[4][5] born c. 1974,[1] though a Kurdish political consultant has told the International Business Times that Abdo is a pseudonym as well.[6] Female fighters choose their names during military training as a way to separate their future from their past. "Afrin" refers to her Kurdish village of Afrin, Syria, and "Narin" was a name she liked.[3]

Afrin avoids media spotlight—most published photos of Afrin were not actually her—and has expressed worry about the media portrayal of the Women's Protection Units, which focuses on the "cause célèbre" of empowered, "bronzed women toting guns" in a conservative region associated with a ruthless Islamic State.[3] In 2014, the Financial Times reported that Afrin had become a "local legend" among Kurds.[3]

She had studied with Abdullah Öcalan, the founder of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).[7] She had participated in the PKK for 20 years prior to the Siege of Kobanî. Prior to Kobanî, she had fought in Cezire (Qamishli region) before moving to Kobanî in early 2013.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Kurdish woman leading Kobane battle against IS: activists". Yahoo News. October 12, 2014. Retrieved December 16, 2015. 
  2. Smith, Samuel (2014-10-15). "ISIS Militants Fear Being Killed by Woman and Losing 72 Virgins for Martyrdom; Kurdish Co-Commander Defending Kobane Is Female". The Christian Post. Retrieved 2017-08-14. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Solomon, Erika (December 12, 2014). "Women of 2014: The women of the YPJ, the Syrian Kurdish Women’s Protection Units". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved December 16, 2015. 
  4. Dirik, Dilar (2014-10-29). "Western fascination with 'badass' Kurdish women". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2017-08-14. 
  5. Abdo, Meysa (2014-10-28). "Turkey's Obstruction of Kobani's Battle Against ISIS". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Bulut, Uzay (2014-10-15). "Frontline Isis: The Real Story of Narin Afrini and the Kurdish Female 'Lions' Terrorising Islamic State". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 2017-08-14. 
  7. Platt, Gareth (2014-10-23). "A Kurdish Female Fighter's War Story: 'I Don't Know How Many I've Killed in Kobani - I Don't See Isis as Human'". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 2017-08-14. 

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