7-year-old is the youngest Syrian rebel fighter
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7-year-old is the youngest Syrian rebel fighter

Child brandishing AK-47 documented in Aleppo by Italian photographer; child warriors are banned by international law

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Free Syrian Army fighters fire at government soldiers during a fierce firefight in Daraa al-Balad, Syria, on Monday March 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video)
Free Syrian Army fighters fire at government soldiers during a fierce firefight in Daraa al-Balad, Syria, on Monday March 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video)

The youngest rebel fighter in Syria is a seven-year-old child named Ahmed. Captured on film by photographer Sebastiano Piccolomini brandishing an AK-47 and smoking a cigarette, Ahmad is reportedly currently fighting with the rebels in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

Piccolomini, who was embedded with Free Syrian Army fighters in Aleppo, told Britain’s The Times that Ahmed was the son of an FSA fighter whose entire family was engaged in warfare against the Assad regime.

Last November, Human Rights Watch reported the use of children as young as 14 by rebel forces as lookouts and in helping transport weapons and supplies. The youngest children documented by the organization in combat roles were 16.

International law sets 18 as the minimum age for participation in direct hostilities. The International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute defines the conscription or enlistment of children under 15 as a war crime, the New York-based watchdog said.

A number of Syrian women were also documented fighting in the ranks of the FSA. One female sniper, Guevara, claimed to be the first woman to join the opposition forces, Al-Arabiya reported.

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