Rehana -- the slayer of 100 ISIS soldiers -- also known as the 'Angel of Kobane' has captured the attention of thousands across the world over the past few weeks. But reports have now emerged that this symbol of Kurdish resistance is nothing but a popular wartime urban legend.
The stories of her killing '100 ISIS soldiers' or her own beheading and then counter reports of her being alive have been lapped up by a global audience.
But in all reality, Rehana, which is not her real name, may not have even fought the Islamic State militants. It is in wartime that urban legends like these are born. It has happened in the past and it is happening again. Branded as a pro-Kurdish propaganda, the stories around Rehana appear to be far from the truth.
Who is 'Rehana'?
Swedish journalist Carl Drott, who actually met and took the popular picture of Rehana flashing the victory sign back in August, said the young woman is not even a member of YPJ, but an auxiliary 'Home Guard' unit.
"I met her during the ceremony when the unit was set up on 22 August. The purpose of such units is primarily to relieve YPG/YPJ (the army) and Asayish (the police) of duties inside Kobani town, e.g. operating checkpoints. Only in the last instance would these minimally trained volunteers be sent to the first line of fighting. I doubt that even the most skilled YPG/YPJ sniper in Kobani has killed 100 enemies, even since the start of the war, and it's highly improbable (though of course not impossible) that someone who has not even been to YPG/YPJ boot camp would manage that in a few weeks," Drott said in his Facebook post.
Drott further said that the young woman, whose name he "didn't catch" told him that she used to study Law in Aleppo.
Condemning the fabricated stories around Rehana, he further said that the fake stories on Rehana "devalues the very many completely true and even more fantastic stories coming out of Kobani. Unfortunately, there's not an iconic picture for every fantastic story, and vice versa".
It is found that after Drott posted her picture, a Kurdish daily Slemani Times @SlemaniTimes used the image to call on international help for YPG. Soon from there on several Pro-Kurdish supporters picked up the picture.
However, the stories of her bravado went viral after her picture was posted on Twitter by Indian blogger Pawan Durani with the caption: "Rehana has killed more than a hundred #ISIS terrorists in #Kobane. RT and make her famous for her bravery."
A BBC report, the first to deconstruct the myth around Rehana, noted that the woman now has a huge fan following.
"She captivated everyone with her pretty eyes and blonde hair. She has a huge fan base," the report quoting Kurdish blogger Ruwayda Mustafah noted. "Everyone that I come across admires her because she symbolises what everyone wants to see. That women and men are standing up against barbaric force in the region," Mustafah added.
Many of such wartime urban legends have existed during the World War I, where according to an article by British author Arthur Machen, believe it or not, angels armed with arrows allegedly helped the British army from being utterly annihilated by numerically superior German forces in Mons, Belgium.