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Wednesday
Feb062013

Syrian Mother Fighting on the Front Lines

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ALEPPO, Syria) -- If her story is true, she is one of the more unlikely candidates to join the ranks of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels fighting on the front lines in the dangerous city of Aleppo. A 36-year-old mother claims to have joined the battle in defending her country against President Bashar Al-Assad and his government’s forces.

Her nom de guerre is Guevara, after the Argentinean revolutionary, and she patrols the streets of the city armed with her Belgian FN rifle and dressed in a camouflage jacket, khaki trousers and her hijab.

Unlike the other countries in the region that have experienced the Arab Spring (Tunisia, Egypt and Libya), women have played a much smaller role in the fight for freedom in Syria largely because many of the protests have taken place less in the cities than in the villages, where the mentality is more conservative and religious.

Seeing a female fighter among the rebels is rare, but she is reportedly holding her ground. She persuaded her katiba, or rebel division, of some 30 men and boys to allow her to fight alongside them.

And she reportedly speaks from experience. Recounting her personal tragedy to the Daily Telegraph, she said, “My boy used to be frightened of the bombs, and ask me what was happening. I said, ‘My boy, I promise that I am going to defend your future.’ Now, I will not forget my children’s blood and I promise to take revenge.”

It’s a personal tragedy that reportedly urges her to spring into action. She told the Daily Telegraph that both her children —  a boy, 7,  and a girl, 10 — were killed in an airstrike on their home, a story that has not been verified by ABC News.

But as with all the videos that have been posted by both sides of this conflict, by government soldiers and the Free Syrian Army rebels, it is difficult to find the truth and it is difficult to verify it.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio