Mothers worry about their teenage daughters – about the places they go, the things they do and the people they “hang out” with and Brenda Jabs is no different.

But her worries didn’t involve whether her daughter, Shaelynn, would make curfew, keep her grades up, date the right boy or choose the right college – Brenda just prayed that her daughter would come home from Syria where the gritty teen went to fight side by side with Kurdish women in the fight against ISIS.

Shaelynn, who played football on the boys’ team – the Warriors, in Drayton Valley, Alberta, grew up wanting to be a soldier “to help people,” and four months after graduating high school, she left home, unsure if she would ever seen her mother again.

“She gets it in her mind what she needs to do, and then she's like a bull in the China shop going for it,” said Brenda Jabs, who tried to talk her determined daughter out of the decision before giving it her blessing. “You can't stop an adult from doing what it is they have to do.”

After seeing an online recruit plea, the teenager joined the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, undergoing basic training that included learning languages and how to toss a grenade.

Initially, Jabs served as a medic, but after seeing combat up close and witnessing death first hand, she realized, “you have to fight before you can do any medicine. I had to do something more.”

She became a fighter, armed with an AK-47 and a part of the special units formed to allow women to fight ISIS.

“There are younger people over there fighting – 15 and 16-year-olds. How could I do any less when they’re dying?

Her mom still worries, but now she adds, “I look at my daughter like she's a hero. How can you not be proud of her for helping people?”


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