The photo, taken by Sebastiano Tomada, shows Ahmed, the eight-year-old son of a Syrian rebel fighter, smoking and standing guard with an AK-47 outside a barricade in Aleppo.
Tomada tells us that Ahmed’s parents were killed, and he’s living with his uncle now. He quotes Ahmed as saying, “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?”
When he’s not manning his post, Ahmed is doing chores and fetching tea and ammo. “There is always something to do here, I am never bored,” Ahmed said, according to Tomada. “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 later the regime will kiss you with one of their bullets.”