Volunteer health workers on the front line
Internationalist fighters, who have all come from different countries and are taking part in the 'Great Battle', are volunteering in Raqqa to apply first aid to the fighters if needed.
Because of the embargo imposed on Rojava and Northern Syria, there is a scarcity of everything from the logistics to the weaponry. First aid materials and medicines are limited on the front line. Yet the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are making the best of it. The fighters are doing all they can to meet the needs on the front and intervene if someone is wounded.
Jiyan Bengî, Dilan Cudî, Egîd and Çiya, who have come from different distant countries to fight against ISIS, are volunteering to administer first aid to the combatants on the front line. The fighters spoke to the ANF and stated to consider this work very important and sacred.
Since when are you in Rojava?
Jiyan Bengi: I came from Germany two and a half years ago. I joined the Martyr Rûbar and Manbij offensives as well as the first phase of the Raqqa Operation. Right now I am taking part in the operations in the city centre. Like now I always worked as a medic.
What is the biggest difficulty you are facing?
There is a huge embargo on Rojava and Northern Syria. We lack many things needed. There is a shortage of medicine at the hospital. We do not have those possibilities in European standards. For example, we do not have enough stretchers to carry the wounded. For this reason, we use our own means and are doing our best out of it. The conditions of the places we go to are difficult, as we either have to walk or go with armoured vehicles. We have to carry the wounded and be on guard at the same time against assassination attacks and land mines.
How does your presence on the frontline affect the fighters?
The comrades' morale is stepping up and they get an energy boost when they see us doing our work and how much effort we put in it. Some of our comrades have come from abroad. When people are together, they are getting stronger. Being together, helping each other and fighting side by side, getting strength from each other, is the very goodness beauty.
Can you share with our readers an event that affected you the most in this operation?
Once we went to retrieve five wounded comrades. One comrade was lying 20 metres ahead of us. There was a sniper and we could not reach him. We thought he already fell a martyr. We tried hard to retrieve him and as we finally managed it we saw that he had not died yet. His wound was serious. Even if there is the smallest chance one keeps on clinging on it until the last moment and hangs on for dear life. We could not save him, he died a martyr...
In the event of an injury, you can sometimes alleviate the situation. Because some of the fighters who suffer an injury for the first time sometimes get into panic. In those moments, you can give them morale and strength.
While rushing to the help of the wounded, do you sometimes remain on the battle lines?
Yes. We do not get much involved into the intense warfare, yet sometimes the enemy uses assassination attacks, gang members are directly assaulting or detonating mines. Actually, if you are cautious, do not act on your own and move according to the comrades' discipline, no big issues will arise. Everyone completes each other. If the comrades who give first aid, the drivers and doctors fulfil their tasks correctly and without any mistakes, troubles will appear less. If at some point mistakes slip in, problems are the consequences.
How many years have you been in Rojava, when did you start to work as a medic?
Dîlan Cûdî: I came in 2015. I joined the Hesekê, Hawl, Shaddadi and Siluk offensives. I got wounded in Silûk. After I recovered, I joined the Tabqa operation and now I am in Raqqa.
In the past I did not engage much in the medical field. But I witnessed Hesekê and Hawl how my friends fell martyrs. I do not want anyone to fall a martyr because of injuries that could not be treated. We are here for the revolution. And I joined the medical work.
What causes you most trouble?
It is to see comrades, with whom we spent much time together and shared a lot of things, get wounded and fall martyrs. Then I feel pain in my heart, and this became the reason why I decided to become a medic after all, to be able to save their lives. Sometimes when we have some wounded fighters, it is impossible to retrieve them due to snipers and mines scattered all around. At times land mines explode around you. Your situation is getting also dangerous. And you need to save the wounded.
I had a friend, she was in every aspect a wonderful person. We stayed together for a year and a half. We went together to Shedad. She was hit by a sniper. There were ISIS members and our comrades could not reach us. I heaved her on my shoulders and I kept on saying: 'Do not worry, the comrades will come'. But my friend fell a martyr there. One cannot describe those moments.
You are both a fighter and a medic. How does it feel to fight and save lives?
There is no difference. Because you are struggling. If I do not kill him, he will kill my comrade, he will kill women and children. You are dealing with such an entity, that has become a plague for humanity.
The internationalist fighters with the names Egîd and Çiyager are also combatants and at the same time medics.
Egîd said that at first the wounded ones have to be taken to safety to be given treatment and sent to hospital afterwards. Egîd stated that their lives are in constant danger, but to rescue the wounded fighters they are always on the move.
Egîd compared Raqqa to Germany's capital Berlin during the Nazi regime and noted that after Raqqa's liberation ISIS will be finished off in whole of Syria.
Çiyager is a young fighter from Sweden. He is working in Raqqa for two months now. Çiyager remarked that the fight against ISIS led him to Syria and that Europe is capable of fighting more effectively against ISIS, but refrains from doing so.
Çiyager pointed out that he used to work as a medic in the Swedish army and is therefore active in that same field here in Raqqa as well. Çiyager expressed his positive feeling about the good job he is convinced to do for the wounded fighters, and said that he cannot forget the moment his friend David fell a martyr.