14-year-old Usaid Barho was said to have approached the gate of a Shiite mosque, unzipped his jacket to show a vest of explosives, and surrendered himself to the guards
A teenage boy has escaped death by volunteering to become a suicide bomber to deceive the Islamic state fighters (ISIS).
14-year-old Usaid Barho was said to have approached the gate of a Shiite mosque, unzipped his jacket to show a vest of explosives, and surrendered himself to the guards.
The Syrian boy before the war played soccer, loved Jackie Chan movies and adored the beautiful Lebanese pop singer Nancy Ajram.
He also dreamed of attending college and becoming a doctor before everything turned upside down.
“They seduced us to join the caliphate,” he said several days later in an interview at a secret Iraqi intelligence site where he is being held.
Usaid described how he had been recruited by the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State from a mosque in his hometown, Manbij, near Aleppo. He said he joined the group willingly because “I believed in Islam.”
“They planted the idea in me that Shiites are infidels and we had to kill them,” he said in the interview, which took place in the presence of an Iraqi intelligence official.
Barho was told that Shiites Muslims would come and rape his mother if he didn't fight.
He soon found himself in Iraq, but he quickly had misgivings and wanted to escape. His best chance, he decided, was a risky deception: volunteer to be a suicide bomber so he could surrender to security forces.
Reports say the wars in Syria and Iraq have set grim new standards for the exploitation and abuse of children.
Thousands of children have been killed or maimed through indiscriminate bombings, in crossfire and, in some cases, executions. Young girls from minority groups, especially Yazidis in Iraq, have been captured as sex slaves by ISIS.
Young boys have been given rifles and told to staff checkpoints or patrol neighborhoods — or have been recruited, as Usaid was, to become suicide bombers.