This guest post comes to us from a YPG cadre who has been fighting on the front lines against ISIS. -Jack

There’s been a great deal of — how to put it — bullshit surrounding the women of the PKK. Here’s a brief rundown of my interaction with one of the real, truly great, female PKK fighters. A truly great person.

Havel Minsky, who stood at five foot six, came from Eastern Kurdistan (Iranian Kurdistan). She was killed in Jaza (near Sinjar Mountain) on the 10th of August, 2014. She carried a short-barrel AK-47 with a foldable stock. She was a terrible chess player. She was one of the greatest people I have known and will ever know.

Havel Minsky was an actual member of the PKK. She trained in the mountains of Iraq for two years. This should be a lesson for everyone who’s read those “female fighters of the PKK”—they’re almost always YPJ, not PKK. Most of them are in local tabors (read my first article to see what they are) and never see “real” combat; very often they’re used to guard positions of very questionable value. They’re not in the mixed or PKK-only tabors.

Conversely, the female fighters of the PKK, like Minsky, are used for special night raids. They’re in charge of ambushes. They’re often the first in. They’re amazing people. They’re treated differently from the female YPJ fighters for good reason. Usually, they’re not allowed to have their pictures taken because if they ever want to return home, and if a picture is found of them in a PKK uniform, they’re often imprisoned.

One person commented, “Minsky, she was never afraid…yoni…I think she wanted to die.” Perhaps that summed up how fearless she was. She, like the other female PKK fighters, was very well trained—to the likely surprise, I suppose, of some readers here. Minsky had attended several schools in the PKK training camp in Northern Iraq, from explosives to intelligence school. Like her, most female fighters are usually in their mid to late 20s.

Minsky was 26 when she was killed. She had a storied life that sadly ended at the Battle of Jaza, which took place from August to September 2014. This was her second war. She was a third-generation PKK member. Her mother and father fought the Turks, the KDP, and Saddam. Her grandfather and mother fought the British and the Turks.

I’ll explain an occasion when she saved my life and the life of one of my friends. During the Battle of Rabia, lasting from March 2014 to October 2014, my friend, a veteran male PKK fighter, and I were trapped in a building behind enemy lines.