Copenhagen: A young Danish woman who fled her homeland to fight jihadis on the frontline has revealed ISIS soldiers are ‘very easy to kill’ compared to President Assad’s ‘specialist killing machines.’
Joanna Palani, 23, who is now back in Copenhagen studying politics and philosophy, went to fight for the Kurds in Syria ‘for human rights for all people’.
During her year in the war-torn region she recalled the horrors she witnessed first-hand in an interview with Lara Whyte for Broadly.
On her first night on the front line her comrade – a Swedish fighter – was killed by a sniper who shot him between the eyes after seeing smoke from his cigarette.
She also described the sickening moment she found a large group of children being held for sexual abuse by ISIS terrorists after liberating a village near Mosul.
After leaving Denmark in November 2014, Miss Palani first joined the YPG (People’s Protection Unit) and then the Peshmerga, the Western-trained and backed army of the Kurdish Regional Government.
The 23-year-old, of Kurdish descent, said at the time: ‘The Kurds are fighting for democracy and Western values. If I get captured or killed, I will be proud of why I was killed.’
She was constantly faced with danger but said she never wished she was home again.
In the interview with Broadly, she said: ‘I wasn’t taking it seriously when I first came there. But after the first attack I did. I took it seriously indeed.’
While in Syria she fought both ISIS militants and Assad’s troops, who have been known to attack with chlorine gas, barrel bombs and vacuum bombs – all banned under international law.
Comparing the two, she said: ‘ISIS fighters are very easy to kill. ISIS fighters are very good at sacrificing their own lives, but Assad’s soldiers are very well trained and they are specialist killing machines.’
Towards the end of her time in Syria she was part of a battalion that freed a village near Mosul from ISIS.
There she found young girls locked up in a ‘holding house’, held for sexual abuse by the murderous thugs.
She told Broadly: ‘All the girls were under 16 – some were really young. I met this girl in the hospital we had to bring them to.
‘She was a Syrian Christian and she died holding my hand because she was 11-year-old and she was pregnant with twins. Her little face was so swollen. It just wasn’t right. I remember the doctor crying and yelling at me and my first soldier.’
After returning home on leave for 15 days she had her passport seized by police and the Danish intelligence service PET.
She is prevented from returning to fight in Syria under new so-called ‘foreign fighter’ rules intended to stop Danes from – ironically – joining terror groups.
For now she is studying in the Danish capital – but her mind is preoccupied with those she has left behind.
‘I would give my life for Europe, for democracy, for freedom and for women’s rights. I feel like I have been betrayed by those who I was ready to sacrifice my life for’, she said.