It had just passed midnight when Hanna Bohman fell unconscious in the hills of Rojava, Syria just 15 feet away from the footsteps of a dozen ISIS members.
'I'd been sick earlier in the day and woke up the next afternoon in hospital, completely unaware of what had happened,' the fighter tells ELLE UK from her home in Canada following the release of her documentary, Fear Us Women.
Fortunately for the 49-year-old, she was carried to safety by her female comrades who'd she'd been helping set up defensive positions, despite their numerous language barriers.
'There's nothing really scary about being with the YPJ. I feel very safe with those girls,' she admits.
The 'girls' Bohman refers to are some of 10,000 members of the women's militia army of the People's Defense Unit, commonly known as the YPJ, who battle on the front line against members of al Qaeda splinter group, ISIS.
Their aim? Reclaim Syrian territory from ISIS attacks, free women and children captured to become jihadi brides, and fight to the death for democracy and women's rights in the Middle East.
In February 2014, Bohman joined the YPJ via its Facebook recruiting page following five motorcycle accidents and a health scare which made her reevaluate her purpose in life.
'I decided I wanted to do something I wanted to do, instead of doing something I didn't really want to,' she says.
Unsurprisingly, Bohman's journey to the Kurdish region of Syria wasn't without its dangers. Three months after contacting her YPJ unit, she boarded a flight to what she calls the 'Satanic State', went to a payphone to await a call from a YPJ member, before being smuggled across the border, at risk of being captured from the Iraqi Peshmerga - non supporters of the revolution in Syria - at any moment.
'The journey involved staying in the mountains for a couple of days and waiting for a time to cross the Kurdish river border in the middle of the night in a rubber dinghy. It was like something from a movie,' she describes.
However, when Bohman arrived at her first unit, camp life wasn't exactly what she expected. For starters, she was surprised to be surrounded by 20 young women - the majority aged 17-19 - whose joining with the YPJ was some of their first time away from home.
'I felt a bit overwhelmed,' admits the self-proclaimed tomboy. 'All hours for the day, there was screaming and yelling. It was very tiring at first.'
Fortunately, it didn't take long for the group to bond.
'When you're out suffering in the dirt, sand and heat, it brings you together,' Bohman admits. 'There was virtually never any tension. Everyone got a long so well. I rarely saw disagreements.'
While there might not have been controversy among units, there certainly was when Bohman learned of the training - or lack there of - she'd receive before being expected to risk her life fighting against ISIS.
On arrival to her first unit, Bohman was informed she'd have just five days of combat training, lasting approximately one hour a day.
'We basically learned how to take apart a gun and put it back together again,' she says.
'I was hoping for some tactical and medical training, of which there was none at all when I first joined. It was a learning on the job scenario.'
All hours for the day, there was screaming and yelling. It was very tiring at first
Day-to-day life in camp also took some getting used to. The YPJ routinely wake at 5am, with at least one-hour rotating guard shifts shared among each unit during the day and night. Following a quick clean-up of the camp, the militia sit down to a breakfast 'normally comprising of cheese, olives, beans and rice', before keeping watch over open territory.
Daily meetings are also an integral part of schedule, with an emphasis on self-criticism and open discussions of daily issues to find an unanimous solution, between the male and female members of the units.
'If you're not willing to self-criticise, you've got problems. In our society we're ready to blame other people but with the YPJ, part of the thinking is to deconstruct that mentality,' Bohman explains.
'As it's a feminist revolution, part of the training male YPJ members receive is to deconstruct the inner male, the arrogance of the patriarchal male and learn the error of that and how it's affected society.'
In addition, YPJ women are forbidden from asking men for help with tasks, whereas male fighters are actively encouraged to do so to better learn that women are equals. Men are also vetoed a right to have a say on any issue concerning female YPJ members.
The YPJ's focus on equality and democracy are also seen at the highest levels of command, with committees co-chaired by both a male and female YPJ members,with a 50-50 split of attendees.
'They're way ahead of us when it comes to gender equality,' reveals Bohman who suggests wider society would do well to implement the governance principles of the YPJ.
'We could learn to think collectively, to this 'us' instead of 'me',' she enthuses.
When it comes to discussing ISIS, however, Bohman's tone changes.
Fighting alongside women who have suffered rape, capture and ran away from forced marriages, the Canadian now fails to see the Jihadist militant group as human beings.
'In the beginning, I was a bit more empathetic; not that I identified with them in any way or felt they had any justification for what they were doing, but more so in the thinking they had families, just like us. But then I thought that my friends have families too and ISIS wants to kill them. I soon lost any sympathy for ISIS.
Part of the training the male members of the YPJ receive is to deconstruct the inner male
In the documentary, Bohman is regularly seen with her sleeves rolled up, unveiling a poem tattooed on her left forearm which she wrote while fighting with the YPJ. It reads: 'Fear US women, O enemies of humanity, for you who die by our hands will burn in hell forever.'
Explaining the meaning behind the inking, she admits: 'If I ran into an ISIS member, I wouldn't want to negotiate, just fight to the death. There's no point in talking with them, especially if you're a woman because you're viewed as less than human and undeserving of a voice. It's just pure evil mentality.'
Here, Bohman notes that ISIS believe that if they are killed by a woman, the will be refused entry to the Kingdom of Allah. 'You're not fighting a person, you're fighting a system.'
Unfortunately for the fighter and the thousands of members within the YPJ, ISIS is a system that has brought death to the forefront of the frontline. The Canadian alone has lost more than 30 of her close friends during combat.
'When you have to bury someone yourself, put their coffin into the hole and push dirt on top, it adds to the finality of death. It's very tiring,' she says.
When it comes to her own end, Bohman admits she's not scared of dying, rather the thought of suffering in old age.
She says: 'It'd be nice if I lived long but it the quality of my life suffers for no other reason that just to live a long life, what's the point of that? A lot of people say they want to die in their sleep, but rarely do we do that selflessly.
'I'd rather die with a purpose. If I get killed fighting with the YPJ, it's not tragic.'
With capture, torture and death on the fringe of the YPJ's periphery fighting ISIS on a daily basis, each member of the militia are required to carry a last bullet or grenade to kill themselves - and members of the militant group, if possible - before being taken by the opposition.
'We're all aware of [the last bullet] but we don't stress over it. There's no point, otherwise you'd be ineffective,' she says, matter of factly.
You're not fighting a person, you're fighting a system
After six months serving in two different units during her first tour in Syria, Bohman was forced to return to Vancouver in June 2014 after losing 30 pounds to malnutrition to regain some of the weight she'd lost. Of course, giving up on her comrades for good wasn't an option.
'When I left, I thought I was done. I was so tired and weak but when I started to eat and feel better I wanted to go back and be with the girls and do something important,' she reveals.
'There was nothing worthy to go back to in Canada. I didn't want to come back.'
Three months later, Bohman was back on the ground in Syria - armed with her trusty 40-year-old AK47 - and embarked on her second tour of Rojava for nine months.
Did her friends and family try to change her mind?
'They had no chance,' Bohman laughs.
'My mother knew I was going but, at 46-years-old, there was no swaying me. My brother actually found out I was out on my first tour from the media and wasn't too happy. He's okay with it now, though,' she reveals.
After hiding for cover from snipers and crawling across the drylands of Syria while fighting with the YPJ, it's surprising to hear Bohman faces personal attacks by ISIS supporters and Turkish nationalists on social media, too.
If I get killed fighting with the YPJ, it's not tragic
Regularly receiving pictures of murdered Kurdish families children at the hands of Turkish soldiers, Bohman says the online trolls' 'f*cked up mentality' motivates her to keep fighting, 'but mainly, it's just annoying'.
'It disgusts me how people can justify their actions in their own minds. How can they justify what they're doing is right?' she asks.
'A lot of Turks fighting with ISIS tell me it's in their right to kill the Kurds because they're inferior. Their rhetoric is like that of Nazi Germany.'
Of course, not all messages Bohman receives on social media are negative, with women and men around the world praising the fighter for her selflessness and courage fighting what some might believe to be Syria's fight, not the West's.
'It's still weird to me,' she laughs. 'I look at my life as a bit of a train wreck - more of an example of what not to do. We all look for something to inspire us and sometimes we find it in people. We're all role models to somebody. I feel so grateful that I'm able to inspire them in some way.'
When it comes to the women in her life who she sees as inspiration, only one group that comes to mind.
'The YPJ are my inspiration to be a better person. I didn't have any heroes growing up - if anything, I had the opposite. Meeting the YPJ was the first time I felt inspired by anything,' she gushes.
For now, Bohman is back in Vancouver working to help get a group of Syrian refugee families to Canada, despite revealing she wishes she'd never left the YPJ. And while she might be over 10,000 miles away from her comrades, the fighter hopes the group's influence and fight for democracy grows and continues to succeed worldwide.
'I hope the YPJ will be supported and our supposed democratic societies won't feel threatened by it or hope to undermine it. It'd be nice to see groups in other parts of the world, perhaps not military, but their idea for democracy, their inspiration spread internationally.'