Dead or alive? Fate of iconic Kurdish female fighter ‘beheaded by ISIS’ wrapped in mystery

Dead or alive? Fate of iconic Kurdish female fighter ‘beheaded by ISIS’ wrapped in mystery
Reports about the beheading of a young female Kurdish warrior known as ‘Rehana’ who fought for Kobani and reportedly killed scores of jihadists have sparked controversy. Other reports by people who claim to have contacted her say she is alive.

A young girl, wearing military gear and holding a gun, has become an Internet sensation after a picture of her showing a victory salute went viral.

The photo was posted on Twitter by Kurdish journalist Pawan Durani with a caption reading: “Rehana has killed more than 100 ISIS terrorists in Kobani".

On October 26, Rehana’s supporters were shocked by “unconfirmed” reports claiming that she had been kidnapped or executed by Islamic State jihadists, who may have beheaded her.

Jihadists have claimed, according to the Mirror, that a photo of a rebel holding a woman’s severed head is evidence that "Rehana" is dead.

However, Kurdish journalist @Rashad Abdel Qader claimed on Twitter that Rehana was very much alive.

The MailOnline has also reported that Rehana is indeed alive, according to her friends.

“She is my friend and I confirm that she is alive. And the picture of beheaded female fighter is not Rehana's picture,” the newspaper cited a Kobani-based journalist, who also added that saw Rehana leaving Kobani last week.

According to the journalist, Rehana is now in Turkey.

Another friend of the Kurdish female soldier also told the MailOnline that the beheaded victim of ISIS was not Rehana.

“The facial features [of the head in the ISIS photo] are not hers,” a female friend told the newspaper, adding that the girl’s real name was different.

Rehana is one of several hundred women fighting in an Independent Women's Battalion known as the YPJ, fighting for the Kurdish Peshmerga militia.

More than 800 people have died in Kobani since Islamic State militants launched their attack in mid-September.