Kalashnikov e sigaretta : la storia di Ahmed, bambino soldato ad Aleppo / VIDEO8 year old Ahmed with cigarette and gun — the most shocking image from Syrian war
8 year old Ahmed with cigarette and gun — the most shocking image from Syrian war
Pubblicato in data 30/mar/2013
It is one of the most shocking images from the Syrian war. An eight-year-old boy draws deeply on a cigarette, the small fingers of his other hand clutching a an AK-47 rifle that balances awkwardly against his chest.
He is too small to be able to hold his weapon properly, but this little boy, Ahmed, is already a fighter in the Syrian civil war.
The photograph, taken on the front line in Aleppo’s Salaheddin district, was used by media outlets around the world in a jolting reminder of the dehumanising character of war, the Telegraph reports.
Ahmed said he went from being a carefree boy with a loving family to a child soldier living on one of the most lethal streets of the devastated city of Aleppo.
“I ended up helping my uncle and his comrades because I have no other choice, there is no school, my family is dead, what choice do I have?” he said.
Ahmed’s mother and father died in a mortar strike in Salaheddin neighbourhood, where his father had been working as a fighter with the rebel Free Syrian Army. Now the only person Ahmed has left is his uncle, a rebel who the boy follows and imitates as he fights against government soldiers.
In a red jumper and black trousers, Ahmed looks dressed in a uniform for school. For several weeks now, however, the front line has been his only playground.
In the video above, the boy, clutching his gun, runs across a road littered with bullet cartridges, broken electricity cables and strewn possession from the nearby homes that have long been abandoned by civilians.
A blanket strung across the road punctured with holes and supported by a barricade made from the metal carcass of a burnt vehicle is the only cover from enemy government snipers that are stationed just one street away.
The words Ahmed utters are incongruous with his child’s voice:
“There is always something to do here, I am never bored. The fighting has calmed down a lot from last year, we had a lot of mortars, but snipers are still a big problem.”
“Sooner or letter the regime will kiss you with one of their bullets,” he added.
There is little left of the innocent and playful youthfulness of boys of Ahmed’s age, unnervingly replaced with the mannerisms of a grown man.
In the video footage, Ahmed is seen lounging against his chair, holding his cigarette with the ease of a chain smoker. His expression is unsmiling and uncaring. His eyes stare blankly, telling the story of his lost youth.
Aleppo’s front lines are lethal. Riven with snipers and erratically bombarded by artillery and air strikes, the threat of death hangs in the air.
When The Daily Telegraph visited a rebel group in Salaheddin last month, the group had lost three men, two of them less than 18 years of age, in the space two weeks.
Ahmed spends some of his time helping to man one of the front line outposts.
“Weapons are heavy I still have a difficult time shooting them, I can only shoot resting on the floor,” he said.
Resting his gun on a low rising wall, Ahmed watches for a sighting of a Syrian government soldier, his small fingers already resting on the trigger, ready to shoot.
He mainly helps his rebel comrades with chores on the front line. He brings them tea or resupplies the other fighters with home made grenades and bullets.
The hours are long and without any pattern.
“There is no schedule or time here in Salaheddin,” he said.
A report by Human Rights Watch has warned that hundreds of children from the towns worst affected by the conflict in Syria are being trained to take part in the war. Young boys, mostly from the age of 14 years old are sent on reconnaissance missions or to smuggle weapons to opposition groups.
Over two years into the conflict that has claimed over 70,000 lives, hundreds of schools have been forced to close, the Telegraph reports.
With no education, and with many traumatised by the violence or from witnessing the death of loved ones, a generation of children is being lost to the Syrian conflict.
In one of the most disturbing moments in the video, Ahmed’s uncle crouches behind a wall with the little boy and lights a grenade that is in the boy’s hand. Ahmed throws it over the wall and they wait for the explosion.
The child said he used to enjoy riding his bicycle. Now his favourite pass time is to play at being a soldier.
SIRIA, IL VIDEO DEL «TELEGRAPH»
Kalashnikov e sigaretta : la storia di Ahmed, bambino soldato ad Aleppo
Dopo che i suoi genitori sono morti è stato reclutato e addestrato dallo zio. E racconta: «Non ho altra scelta»
Ahmed ha otto anni. È piccolo. Troppo piccolo per reggere il peso del kalashnikov e per fumare. Ma Ahmed è un bambino-soldato. Gira per le strade di Aleppo, combatte tra le rovine della città distrutta. E mentre racconta che i suoi genitori sono morti si accende una sigaretta.
La sua terribile storia è raccontata in un video pubblicato dal quotidiano britannico Telegraph e mostra il piccolo che si destreggia goffamente con il suo fucile Ak-47 mentre le sue piccole dita stringono una sigaretta che aspira profondamente. Nell’intervista – una delle più scioccanti nei due anni di conflitto che ha seminato oltre 70mila vittime – il bimbo racconta che i genitori sono morti sotto un colpo di mortaio nel quartiere di Salaheddin, dove suo padre era un combattente del Libero Esercito Siriano. L’unico familiare rimasto è uno zio, un ribelle che il ragazzino segue passo passo: «Non ho altra scelta: niente scuola, la mia famiglia è morta. Che altra possibilità ho?». E la storia di Ahmed non è certo l’unica. Secondo un recente rapporto di Human Rights Watch, sono centinaia i bambini che combattono nelle città siriane, addestrati a prender parte alla guerra: ragazzi, per lo più di 13-14 anni, che scelgono missioni di ricognizione o contrabbando di armi per i gruppi di opposizione. Ma a nulla valgono le denunce delle ong, che da mesi segnalano la presenza di minori usati in combattimento.
30 marzo 2013 | 15:23