BEIRUT – Helmets of white helmets trapped in southern Syria, after occupying areas in areas they were operating on Wednesday, feared they might be trapped in government trawls she considers herself one of her greatest enemies desperately looking for a way out.
Hundreds of volunteer rescue workers who have been in conflict zones for years have failed to escape South Syria in a complex international evacuation.
The evacuation of more than 400 White Helmets was carried out over the sealed border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights last week, under cover of darkness, as a government offensive unfolded.
In the rapidly changing battlefield, the volunteers had no access to the border in time for the first evacuation, the international coordination between six countries ̵
Advancing government forces and a member of the Islamic State group that spread throughout the region quickly attacked territory as the armed opposition collapsed or surrendered in the face of a months-long governmental offensive.
Two of the volunteers who failed The Associated Press was told that they tried, but could not reach the limit.
The two, who have been members of the group for years, were released for evacuation. But they were caught between the IS affiliate militants and government forces.
They are currently limited to about 10 square kilometers (3.8 square miles) where they can safely move between several small villages.
They live incognito and use off-roads where government checkpoints are avoided, moving in tight circles, often with protection, and looking for signs of government force movements. Their villages are besieged by government forces and the Russian military police. After living for years under opposition administration, the Syrian flag now flies in their villages.
One of the two, who leads a team of 30 volunteers, said he is struggling to find ways to save her and her families.
"I have four children, and I am wanted, the (government) declared war on everything that is civil defense," he said, using the other name for the White Helmets. He spoke for reasons of anonymity for fear of being arrested.
For those who have lagged behind, psychological pressure is even more debilitating than physical inclusion.
Unlike other civilians who decided to stay in the government-controlled South, the White Helmets say it is impossible to trust the government to reconcile itself. Rumors and media campaigns make them even more nervous.
For years, the government and its allies have been conducting a concerted campaign against the volunteers and accusing them of being agents of foreign powers to be terrorists because they have worked in rebel areas. Attacks on chemical attacks
3,000 volunteers in opposition-controlled areas, has saved thousands of lives since 2013 and documented government attacks on civilians and other infrastructure facilities. Their volunteers were repeatedly attacked and more than 250 people were killed on duty.
The evacuation over the weekend by the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to Jordan has made everything worse, said the other volunteer, a threefold father who also spoke condition of anonymity
Israel and Syria are conducting a formal war. Cooperation with Israel is considered treason. "The charge of being an agent was the biggest (concern) … it's justified for the government to do anything for us."
The trapped volunteers often meet at night to walk along paths, although they have few
"Some show their fear, others hide it, some try to uphold morality," said the father of three children.
"We are facing an unknown fate," he said. "If we knew that we face death, which is accepted, but our fate is unknown: torture, imprisonment, maybe death or maybe survival, if we're lucky," he said. "A life without hope or dreams is more difficult than dying."
The two volunteers said they are moving into opposition in Idlib in the north, an option available to those who have rejected reconciliation. It would mean taking the risk of going through government checkpoints to another dangerous area that is considered an even bigger prison.
They said they could not contact those evacuated to Jordan. A family member said the evacuees took away their phones.
The team leader called on the international community to negotiate a way out for them or at least to guarantee them protection. "Otherwise, we will continue to live homeless," he said.
The other volunteer said that if there is a will, there is a way: Ransom was paid to Western hostages and negotiations secured the evacuation of others, including the Islamic State
"You can protect us under the protection of the government bring them to Damascus International Airport if they wanted, "he said. We can help others when we go out. We are trained to save lives.
One person close to the other volunteers' evacuation plan said "all efforts are being made" to find safety for those who are still trapped, he had no particularities, but said some volunteers had theirs Road to Idlib found.
Associated Press author Alice Su in Amman, Jordan contributed to this report.