“Oh, are there any wounded who need to be hospitalized? Anyone trapped under the rubbles? Any martyrs?” These are the kind of questions that overwhelm our brains and thoughts whilst driving each time to an attacked area to save people. While being from this area makes us know each house and street and who lives in it. However, this brings more stress and fear thinking “where did the attack take place?”
Those moments fill me with indescribable anxiety with scenarios running in my head, “Is it my son’s school, my parents, or our neighbors’ abandoned house, anyone got injured?
As we arrive at the attacked site, we try to examine the damages as quickly as possible. Quite often, buried survivors’ voices shouting from beneath the rubble becomes our campus to allocate them to rescue them. It is heart-wrecking moments! In the end, we felt proud of our job and thrilled that we managed to pull out someone ALIVE from under the destruction. The risks, fear, anxiety that we endure throughout this process distracted us sometimes, however, our determination and persistence that we will be able to save people’s lives fuel us with the power we need to carry on our mission.
One year ago, my story had begun when I volunteered with the Syrian civil defense (The White Helmets). My initial motivation to take this step is to be a positive actor and part of saving people’s lives. While watching the Withe Helmets videos in action rescuing people, I used to wonder, why is it men dominate sphere? Why not female like other women and I also take part?! Since then I decided to be part of the White Helmets team in my village…
Our work is tough and quite frightening. Female and male volunteers of the civil defense run wherever attacks occur, and the risks are extremely high. Namely due to the double-attacks tactic Assad regime deliberately follows bombing the same site a few minutes after the first strike. Therefore, our lives endure hazardous risks of being struck once again during the rescue operation to rescue those who were attacked at first.
The nature of our work obliges us to be always alerted. Given that our centers are scattered everywhere make our response quicker. Once an airstrike gets reported, our ambulances take off to the strike scenes to rescue civilians in a matter of minutes or seconds. Time is very crucial in our job. The faster we are there, the greater the number of souls we save.
Our humanitarian duty compels us to race the time and dashes quicker than warplanes. It feels like we are grappling with them. Their warplanes kill people, and we save them.
When I see a wounded child throughout this process, I cannot help it but feel like he is my son! Would my son Hamza be in his place one day? No clue! I have constant anxiety and fear in my life. I feel that I might lose anyone from family and friends…
Every day I leave my house I cuddle them fearing that I might not see them again. When my work shift ends, and I go back home, I see my children waiting to see and cuddle me like I was I came from abroad traveling, and I just came back. They said, “thanks to God for your safety mommy.” Perhaps they know that my work greatly threatens my life!
Since the establishment of the WH, 282 female and male volunteers sacrificed their lives to save others. Most of them died due to the Assad-Russian regime’s attacks.
They aren’t just numbers. These are stories sacrifice and heroic of human-like us who had families and dreams. I wish safety for my colleagues and me. I hope the world act and do something to save us, to save civilians in Idlib and everywhere in Syria….
Amna Al Bush-Idlib.