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Photos Of Children Fighting In Syria That You Must See

The war of the young.

Posted on September 6, 2013, at 5:11 p.m. ET

Children have been involved from the start of the Syrian revolution.

STRINGER / Reuters
A member of the Free Syrian Army holds up a child as he protests against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad
HANDOUT / Reuters

A member of the Free Syrian Army holds up a child as he protests against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad

But as the civil war enters it's third year, more and more children are becoming involved in the day-to-day fighting.

HANDOUT / Reuters

Many of the boys follow their parents into the war.

Stringer / Reuters
A Free Syrian Army checkpoint guard with his son.
- / Getty Images

A Free Syrian Army checkpoint guard with his son.

Reporters on the ground say of the rebel forces: "most are young civilians, some 16 or 17 years old."

GORAN TOMASEVIC / Reuters

Boys as young as 12 have been reported on the battlefield.

GUILLAUME BRIQUET / Getty Images

Some are younger than that.

PHILIPPE DESMAZES / Getty Images

Young boys who cannot handle weapons are used to carry supplies for the rebels.

STRINGER / Reuters

This boy runs to avoid sniper fire.

ARIS MESSINIS / Getty Images

And feeding ammunition for artillery.

Stringer / Reuters

Many of the teenagers are snipers.

STRINGER / Reuters

Because of their endurance and good eyesight.

Stringer / Reuters

There is formal training for these boys...

BULENT KILIC / Getty Images

... so they will be competent on the battlefield.

STRINGER / Reuters

They fight in bedrooms that could be their own.

Stringer / Reuters

And use basketball courts they could be playing on as a location to fire mortars.

Stringer / Reuters

They sleep wherever they can.

Stringer / Reuters

They sleep in classrooms that they just graduated from.

STRINGER / Reuters
A boy with a gun on a school bench.
GORAN TOMASEVIC / Reuters

A boy with a gun on a school bench.

This is how they shower.

Stringer / Reuters

And this is how they swim... sometimes in captured pools and sometimes in craters left by bombs.

Stringer / Reuters

They are wounded along with the older solders.

Stringer / Reuters

And they keep photos of their families with them.

Stringer / Reuters

And no matter how macho they act...

GORAN TOMASEVIC / Reuters

... they are still kind of just kids.

Stringer / Reuters

Kids with play things.

STRINGER / Reuters
These children use this former Assad tank as a jungle gym.
ASMAA WAGUIH / Reuters

These children use this former Assad tank as a jungle gym.

And while the boys fight, the girls wait in long lines for humanitarian aid.

MEZAR MATAR / Getty Images
A girl cheers near the site where a jet fighter belonging to forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad crashed.
Stringer / Reuters

A girl cheers near the site where a jet fighter belonging to forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad crashed.

For these children, their country has changed forever.

'Free Syria' in Arabic.
- / Getty Images

'Free Syria' in Arabic.

But the question remains how long will the devastating war rage on?

6-months old laughs as he is posed with a machine gun.
Rodrigo Abd / AP

6-months old laughs as he is posed with a machine gun.

I hope not long.

Hani Mohammed / AP