These photos show the daily lives of members of the all-female Mother Aisha battalion in the embattled city of Aleppo in northern Syria.

The battalion, controlled by the Free Syrian Army, provides aid and security in addition to being a combat unit.

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Members of the all-female Mother Aisha battalion carry weapons as they patrol on the Aleppo Castle frontlineAbdalrhman Ismail/Reuters
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Women belonging to the Mother Aisha battalion climb through a hole in a wall in a house on the Aleppo Castle frontlineAbdalrhman Ismail/Reuters
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Members of the Mother Aisha battalion take up position behind sandbags in a damaged house on the Aleppo Castle frontlineAbdalrhman Ismail/Reuters
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Umm Mohamad, battalion commander, speaks on a walkie-talkie in front of a Free Syrian Army police station in AleppoAbdalrhman Ismail/Reuters
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Umm Mohamad, commander of the all-female Mother Aisha battalion, talks with fellow Free Syrian Army fighters in Old AleppoAbdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

The brigade is named after one of the Prophet Muhammad's wives who is revered in Sunni Islam, but is viewed negatively by Shi'ites.

The women who make up this force operate as fighters on the Old Aleppo frontline, and are also in charge of two medical field hospitals for injured fighters and a police station for women detainees.

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A member of the all-female Mother Aisha battalion crochets a garment at a field hospital in AleppoAbdalrhman Ismail/Reuters
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Battalion members ride in a vehicle in AleppoAbdalrhman Ismail/Reuters
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A trainer points to a spot on a mannequin during military instruction for members of the all-female Mother Aisha battalionLoubna Mrie/Reuters
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A Syrian rebel fighter shows members of the Mother Aisha battalion how to use a weaponZein al-Rifai/AFP
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A female member of the Mother Aisha battalion aims her weapon during her military trainingLoubna Mrie/Reuters

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that about 5,000 women are engaged in military combat and logistics in Syria. One in five fighters in the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) is female, according to an AFP report.

Aleppo, Syria's second city, is at the heart of clashes between pro-government forces and a range of insurgents, including al-Qaeda's Syria wing, Islamist brigades and Western-backed rebels.

Insurgent-held districts have been flattened by Syrian air force bombardments, including barrel bombs – crude explosive devices packed with shrapnel and nails.

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A man rescues a child from the rubble of a building in the contested Bab al-Hadid neighbourhood of Aleppo after it was struck by a rocketZein al-Rifai/AFP
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Children play behind an anti-sniper curtain hung over a street in the al-Kalasa neighbourhood of AleppoBaraa al-Halabi/AFP
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A building that was blown up by rebel fighters during an offensive against forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the old city of AleppoAbdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

The United Nations says more than 200,000 people have been killed in Syria's conflict, which began in March 2011 with popular protests against Assad and spiralled into civil war after a violent crackdown by security forces.