The anti-ISIS army – known as the ‘jin’ unit – is formed from a rotating squad of women said to be particularly feared by extremists in Iraq.
Under ISIS’ strict interpretation of the Koran, militants believe if they are killed by a woman they will not go to heaven.
Fear of what awaits them after their impending death means the female soldiers can be more effective than men at clearing territory held by jihadis in Syria and Iraq, as they would rather flee than sacrifice what they believe will be an afterlife.
One 30-year-old recruit known only by her first name Denis said: “They are so scared of us. If we kill them they can’t go to heaven. It makes us laugh.
“We make loud calls of happiness when we see them to let them know we are coming. That’s when they become cowards.”
Jin warriors make up a unit in the Kurdish defence militia known as the YBS, which formed as an offshoot of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).