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As IS loses power, will group tap women jihadis to fight?

As the Islamic State suffers successive defeats in Iraq’s Mosul and Raqqa in Syria, it's increasingly likely that the women of the organization will shift from their traditional supportive roles to become suicide bombers or fighters on the front lines.
Veiled women walk past a billboard that carries a verse from Koran urging women to wear a hijab in the northern province of Raqqa March 31, 2014. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has imposed sweeping restrictions on personal freedoms in the northern province of Raqqa. Among the restrictions, Women must wear the niqab, or full face veil, in public or face unspecified punishments "in accordance with sharia", or Islamic law. REUTERS/Stringer   (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT RELIGI

The glory days of the so-called caliphate are over. For the past two years, the Islamic State (IS) has suffered severe losses on the battlefield, and it seems only a matter of time before its largest stronghold, Mosul, will also fall. The operation to liberate Raqqa, IS' de facto capital, was announced on Nov. 6. While the caliphate is shrinking and IS loses ever more manpower, a question arises: Will the traditional roles of female jihadis change?

The men who typically joined terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and went to Pakistan, Chechnya or Afghanistan for jihad usually did so alone. But because Syria was relatively easy to reach via Turkey and IS repeatedly stated that everyone who shared the group's ideology was welcome in its "state," girls and women from all over the world also joined the terrorist organization, including at least 600 from the West. Many foreign women traveled to Syria to marry jihadi fighters on the spot, while others came with their entire families.

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