A battalion of female soldiers fights alongside their male counterparts in the Syrian army, saying they want to defend their country in a time of need. Yiming Woo reports.
These women are part of an all-female battalion that has joined the Syrian army's fight on the frontline in Damascus. They operate tanks, snipers... and rocket-propelled grenades. This battalion's stationed in Jobar district, where most buildings have been decimated. Mariana's a 20-year-old sniper. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FEMALE SNIPER IN SYRIAN ARMY, MARIANA, SAYING: "I volunteered because our country needs us now and I came to help our brothers during this crisis. Our country is not only for our men, but also for women because women became just like men during this crisis." The army opened its doors to women volunteers two years ago and says their numbers are increasing. The Syrian military and allied militia have been fighting insurgent groups, including both jihadists and mainstream rebels, across the country for nearly four years. More than 200,000 people have been killed in the conflict that started in 2011 with protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.