Culture

Woman honoured for her support for Iraqi forces in fight against ISIS

Iraq

Umm Wahid, an Iraqi woman from the city of Balad in Salahuddin Province has sacrificed her all for the sake of the Popular Mobilisation Forces' (PMU) fight against ISIS in Iraq.

During the three years that ISIS controlled large swaths of Iraq, thousands of brave Iraqi men took up arms to fight the terrorist group that threatened the lives of millions living in the country. However, this heroic role was not exclusive to men.

Um Wahid, a heroic Iraqi woman from the city of Balad in Salahuddin Province, sacrificed all she has to provide support for the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). During the operations to liberate Salahuddin, Um Wahid provided food, drinks, clothing and necessities to the fighters on the frontline.

“She sold her gold, her husband’s car, a piece of land, and she is willing to sell whatever she has to support the fighters,” said Wahid, her eldest son.

According to Um Wahid, she did not receive any help but did all of this on her own.

“I bake bread for them, bring them food, provide them with clothes, and even fight with them,” said Um Wahid.

As a result of her support for the forces fighting ISIS, the militant group threatened to kill her and her family.

“More than once, we were threatened by mortar shelling, explosive devices, and assassination attempts, but this has increased our determination because we fight with faith and belief,” said Mohammed Ali, another son of Um Wahid. “These things do not discourage us.”

As a result of her bravery, southern Iraqi tribes honoured Um Wahid and her family for supporting the ISF during their battles against the terrorist group.

Stories like Um Wahid’s are not rare in Iraq.

In March of 2018, Aliyah Khalaf Saleh, also known as Um Qusay, was awarded the International Women of Courage Award by the First Lady of the United States. Um Qusay, a resident of Tikrit, saved the lives of dozens of young Iraqi men who escaped the militant group’s onslaught. The heroic woman hid the young men from ISIS patrols looking for them until it was safe for them to return home.

According to many Iraqis, cases like that of Um Wahid and Um Qusay are common, as many Iraqi women have been known for their bravery against ISIS during the three-year conflict.

These women are a prime example of the resilience of Iraqis against terrorism, and the willingness to fight those who transgress on their land and honour.