Mariam Al Mansouri, an Emirati woman, has turned into a social media star, since news spread that she is fighting Islamic State (Isis) militants in Syria.
The United Arab Emirate (UAE)'s ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba, confirmed the news on Thursday (25 September) saying Mansouri is the country's first female fighter pilot deployed in the fight against Isis.
"I can officially confirm that the UAE strike mission on Monday night was led by female fighter pilot Mariam Al Mansouri. She is a fully qualified, highly trained, combat-ready pilot and she is on a mission. We will bring whatever it takes to defeat ISIS and other forms of extremism," said Otaiba, reported UAE's The National newspaper.
As the global support for fighting the Islamic State militants gains momentum, including the recent UN Security Council resolution on jihadists and militant groups, Mansouri is fast gaining virtual support.
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) September 24, 2014
United States is joined by five Arab allies –Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, to fight out the Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq. Women across social media are hailing the female pilot, especially since Isis is known to have participated in massive sexual violence against women.
France24 journalist and jihadist movement expert, Wassim Nasr, however insists that Isis pay no heed to the sex of their enemies.
"IS fighters couldn't care less if their enemy is a man or a woman. In fact, the group has its own all-women brigade that is employed to police other women civilians. Although it's true they would never allow a woman to go to the frontline," said Nasr.
Who is Mariam Al Mansouri
Mansouri, 35, was born in UAE's capital city of Abu Dhabi. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and joined the Khalifa bin Zayed Air College, as soon as enrolment opened for women.
Mansouri was the first woman to join the Emirati Air Force.
She was awarded the "Pride of the Emirates Medal," in May, by the UAE authorities, for excellence in her field.