http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/346777

Photo: Syrian rebel's son Ahmed, 7, wields AK-47, puffs cigarette

Posted Mar 29, 2013 by JohnThomas Didymus
A little Syrian boy has become the face of the civil war in Syria. A photo shows Ahmed, 7, son of a Syrian rebel, manning a barricade in Aleppo. He carries an AK-47 and puffs smoke nonchalantly from a cigarette held in the fingers of his left hand.
Ahmed  7-year-old son of Syrian Free Army Fighter  standards guard
Ahmed, 7-year-old son of Syrian Free Army Fighter, standards guard
Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini
The boy's blank stare into the camera of Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini, 26, a New York-born photojournalist on his second trip to Syria since the war began, is suggestive of the effects of inhaling whatever stuff he was smoking, and has been described by the Daily Mail as a "thousand yard stare."
He stands with a hand on the butt of his assault rifle in the neighborhood of Salahedeen, one of the front-lines in the war-torn city of Aleppo, confidently depicting the bravado of vulnerable youth thrust involuntarily and prematurely into adulthood.
Ahmed  7-year-old son of Syrian Free Army Fighter  standards guard
Ahmed, 7-year-old son of Syrian Free Army Fighter, standards guard
Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini
He reportedly operates the barricade erected as shelter against sniper fire.
The Huffington Post comments aptly: "This seven-year-old Syrian boy’s childhood appears well and truly over."
The Daily Mail reports it is believed that children have played "active roles" in the Syrian conflict, acting as messengers between front-line units and running supplies.
The image of Ahmed on the front-line emerges as Samantha Cameron, the British Prime Minister's wife, visiting Syrian refugees in Lebanon as an ambassador for Save the Children, lamented that young lives were being "smashed to pieces" by the war.
The Huffington Post reports that during a trip to a clinic for new mothers and pregnant refugees, she said: "As a mother, it is horrifying to hear the harrowing stories from the children I met today. No child should ever experience what they have."
She added: "With every day that passes, more children and parents are being killed, more innocent childhoods are being smashed to pieces."