Syria’s Usaid Barho ran away from home on his way to school one day to join the Islamic State.
Jihadists recruiting outside of a mosque convinced the 14-year-old Sunni that their militant group was fighting a righteous religious battle.
The boy said,
Usaid walked to a camp in the Syrian desert where he went through weapons training for about a month.
That was all it took, however, for Usaid to be exposed to the group’s hypocrisy.
People were violently punished for smoking cigarettes in his hometown, but at the camp, many jihadists smoked freely. He even saw militants engaging in homosexual activities behind tents at night — acts that are forbidden by Islam.
But what ultimately drove him to defect was the realization that Shiites were not killing Sunni men and raping Sunni women as he’d been told.
What he saw was literally the exact opposite.
After being taken to Iraq with a crew of young fighters, Usaid was asked whether he wanted to fight with guns or a suicide bomb. He chose the latter because he had another plan in mind.
Usaid eventually found himself in Fallujah, staying at numerous safe houses while awaiting his call to action.
He remembers taking a nap at an apartment and being woken up two hours later.
He was told,
A police officer not in uniform quickly cut the vest off of him.
Usaid is now being held at an Iraqi intelligence facility for further investigation before he can return to his family.
Intelligence officers have vowed he will not be prosecuted.
Usaid hopes to go to school in Turkey and become a doctor.