Kurdish women attend a wedding ceremony in the southeastern Turkish city of Hakkari
The decree came as dozens of Kurdish women are taking arms against the insurgence of terror group Isis REUTERS

The local government of an autonomous Kurdish area in Syria has granted women equal rights to men.

The move came as dozens of Kurdish women and girls are taking arms to combat the insurgence of terror group Islamic State (Isis), who have seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq since its uprising erupted in July. IS has imposed its own rules and version of Sharia law in the occupied territories.

The decree, published on the local government's official Facebook page, stated that women and men should enjoy "equality ... in all walks of public and private life".

Women should be at least 18 to get married and they cannot be married off without their consent.

The decree also banned polygamy and stated that women now have full inheritance rights as men and they have the same weight as male witnesses during court trials.

Women will be now paid full maternity leave and they will no longer be subjected to honour killing practices, which the decree banned together with other forms of "violence and discrimination" against women.

Honour killing is the homicide of a person who is thought to bring shame upon their family.

The decree came a few weeks after IS militants admitted that they are kidnapping hundreds of Yazidi women and forcing them into sex slavery.

Slave markets across Iraq and Syria have been used by the terror group as a way to recruit new fighters.

According to Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the decree is an "affront to laws being passed by IS, which are highly discriminatory against women".

Rami Abdel Rahman, the Observatory director told AFP: "While fighting the jihadists, the Kurds also want to send a message to the international community, to say that they want to espouse a culture of democracy and civil rights."

The three Kurdish-majority areas in Syria have established autonomous governments, which, however, are not recognised by Damascus.