‘Islamic State has tried to kill me four times’

General Aitan Farhad is a coveted target for the so-called Islamic State and she knows it; at 39 the young Kurd from the city of Afrin is the first woman to be appointed co-head of Syria’s Kurdish armed security force, or Asayish.

“They have tried to kill me four times,” she says sitting in a dim office surrounded by portraits of young Kurdish fighters fallen in battle, a blue Asayish flag on a golden stand sits beside her desk.

“I have lost a lot of people close to me,” the petite woman in military green fatigues adds faintly.