Syria war: Outcry over ‘mutilated’ female Kurdish fighter

Kurds in Syria have reacted furiously to videos showing Turkish-backed rebels abusing the body of a female Kurdish fighter killed in battle.

Barin Kobani was part of all-female unit challenging a Turkish-led offensive in north-west Syria.

Kurdish officials accused fighters allied with Turkey of “playing with her corpse” and mutilating it.

Last month, Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels launched a campaign to capture the Kurdish-held Afrin region.

Barin Kobani was killed during fighting earlier this week in the northern part of the region, reports say. She was in her mid-20s, and joined the Kurdish all-female unit known as the YPJ in 2015.

The group is part of the YPG (People’s Protection Units), seen by Turkey as a terrorist group and an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in south-eastern Turkey for three decades.

The US has provided the YPG and allied Arab fighters with weapons and air support to help them battle the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

Two videos emerged earlier this week, and the woman was soon identified as Barin Kobani.

The footage shows a group of rebels standing around the bloodied body of a woman lying on the ground. Parts of her torso appear to have been cut.

“We hold the Turkish government responsible for this heinous act,” Kurdish-led authorities said. One unconfirmed report claimed she had been captured alive before being killed.

Local official Aldar Khalil condemned the rebels’ “moral decadence”.

Turkey has not publicly commented on the issue. The rebels involved in the videos have not been identified.

Thousands of people have been displaced by the Turkish-led offensive, launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a bid to crush the YPG, which controls Afrin and more than 400km (250 miles) of Syria’s northern border.

Some 10,000 Syrian rebels are taking part in the campaign.