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Her children killed by regime, Syrian mom becomes feared sniper

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Now known only as "Guevara," she was at one time a 36-year-old English teacher before her seven-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son were brutally killed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government forces. The tragedy galvanized her into becoming one of Aleppo's most feared frontline fighters, sniping government forces. "I will not forget my children's blood," she vows, "and I promise to take revenge."
  

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Her two children were killed when a bomb fell on her home in Aleppo. Nicknamed "Guevara" after Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, the woman has become a shadowy fixture on the rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, where she aims her Belgian FN rifle at government troops.

Syria's largest city, Aleppo has become the epicenter of the country's civil war. Guevara is one of the few women firing a gun on the frontlines as the conflict rages.

"I like fighting. When I see that one of my friends in my katiba (rebel division) has been killed, I feel that I have to hold a weapon and take my revenge," she told British reporters.

The capital of Damascus, 93 miles from Aleppo, the dead bodies of more than 100 anti-government rebels, many of them college students, were found along the shore of Aleppo's Quweiq River. Guevara seems resigned to this grim new reality.

"I have seen more than 100 bodies in the last few months," Guevara says. "So many people were killed in shelling and airstrikes. And I have had many near misses. Once a bomb exploded nearby, wounding people who I was with in a car, and I thought 'oh my God, death is near.'"

The memory of her murdered children burns brightly enough to keep her fighting against Bashar's forces.

"My boy used to be frightened of the bombs and ask me what was happening. I said, 'My boy, I promise that I am going to defend your future.' Now, I will not forget my children's blood, and I promise to take revenge," Guevara said.

The United Nations estimated that 60,000 people had been killed in the bloody civil, which began in March 2011 following the brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters allied with the pro-democracy Arab Spring movement.

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