'Shakira' sings against ISIS

She has been called the "Kurdish Shakira" and is the face of Iraqi Kurds fighting against ISIS terrorists.

Wearing high heels, fatigues and gold rifle-shaped rings, singer Helly Luv's hip-swinging and hair-swishing is a stark contrast to the sombre and pious nasheeds (chants) that have appeared on social media over the past year.

The singer visits peshmerga (Iraqi Kurdish fighters) forces fighting the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), and claims to have filmed her latest music video in Al-Khazr, not far from the terrorists' lines.

"I want to give something to the peshmerga because I consider myself one of them," the 26-year-old singer told AFP in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil. "I wore peshmerga clothes in the song to support them."

Helly Luv's grandfather had fought for the peshmerga, according to her online biography.

Her latest music video, for a song titled Revolution, opens with a peshmerga fighter looking at a picture of himself with a young boy, as shelling and gunfire are heard in the background.

The video then moves to a quiet village where children play and people sit drinking tea, but it is soon under attack by militants in armoured vehicles.

As everyone flees, the singer - wearing golden high heels with a white and red scarf covering her face - strides the other way to dramatic music, unfurling a banner before a tank that reads "Stop The Violence".

She also sings and dances next to a car with "End War" spray-painted on its side, as footage shows peshmerga forces counter-attacking. Lyrics of the song include: "We gon' keep on fighting"

The music video hits on many themes that the peshmerga have sought to emphasise since the anti-ISIS conflict began last June, showing them as the brave, secular defenders of the innocent threatened by ISIS brutality.

To hammer home the coexistence message, people march in the video carrying banners with peace messages in various languages and an array of religious symbols, including the Jewish star of David and the Buddhist wheel.

The video and English lyrics are over the top and sometimes cringe-worthy, but also apparently popular, garnering 700,000 views on YouTube barely two weeks after its release.

Peshmerga fighter Abdulrahman Ahmed said: "Such songs will encourage the international community to sympathise and co-operate with us more, and support us with weapons to continue fighting these terrorists and eliminate them once and for all."

This article was first published on June 16, 2015.
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