Widat, an Assyrian fighter from the mountains of North Kurdistan

Widat Iso was a descendant of survivors of the Assyrian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. She died in 2015 defending her village in Til Temir against the ISIS.

Widat was the daughter of a Assyrian family from Hakkari, northern Kurdistan who survived the "Ottoman Sword", the genocide of the Syriacs/Assyrians in the Ottoman Empire (Sayfo) in 1914-1915. The family fled first to South Kurdistan and from there on to Serêkaniyê (Ras al-Ain) in West Kurdistan. But also there the Turkish state as successor of the Ottoman Empire did not leave them in peace and forced them to flee again.

In a pact concluded on 29 June 1929 with the then French mandated Syria, Turkey demanded a thirty-kilometer-deep "security zone" on the border from which the Armenians, Assyrians, Syriacs and Chaldeans were deported south.

When the ISIS attacked the Assyrian villages along the Khabour river in 2015, Widat Iso was one of those who chose the path of resistance and fell a martyr. Her cousin Brahim Yuhanna tells ANF that Widat never married: "As she had no brother, she did all the work men normally do. At the same time she took care of her little sisters. She worked in agriculture and went to school at the same time."

Widat went to primary and secondary school in the village of Til Hurmuz, later graduated from university and worked at the population registration office in Til Temir. "She was very selfless and diligent," says Yuhanna, "and she was also very social. In the village she was the first one to take care of someone who needed help.

Widat was the first woman to join the armed units of the "Khabour Guards" (Parêzvanên Xabûr), her cousin tells: "When the war in Syria began, groups were formed everywhere. Widat joined the Khabour Guards together with us. She was the first woman to join us. In defending our villages, she always insisted on being assigned to the watch duty as well.

I had a shop in the village. The ISIS mercenaries came to the village several times. We did not know exactly who these people were. They didn't pay any attention to us either. But later people with Central Asian facial features came. They probably came from Kazakhstan or other parts of Central Asia. These people threatened us. They told us to tear down the church and destroy all the crosses. We resisted. One night at three or four o'clock they attacked. May this night never be repeated... Many young people were killed. Widat took part in the defense of the church. She fought against the jihadists. Many other people were captured alive. Later we learned that Widat had been wounded. When she ran out of ammunition, she was captured. We called her, but a jihadist answered her phone. As we heard later, the prisoners were first taken to Mount Abdulaziz and from there to Shaddadi. Some people who were later freed told that they had seen Widat among the prisoners in Shaddadi. According to the information available to us, she was executed because she fought armed against the mercenaries. However, there is no precise information. We have never heard from her again. Widat was a very good and selfless person. She resisted to the last bullet."