Teen used suicide vest to escape from Isis
A 14-YEAR-OLD Syrian boy has described how he used a suicide vest to escape certain death at the hands of Isis.
Speaking in an interview after he surrendered himself to the Iraqi authorities while strapped an explosive device, Usaid Barho told the New York Times that he joined the militant group that calls itself "Islamic State" of his own accord.
"They planted the idea in me that Shiites are infidels and we had to kill him," he told the paper.
Once he faced being deployed as a child soldier by the group, however, Usaid regretted his decision - and when asked to volunteer either to fight or to carry out a suicide bombing, he saw the latter as his best chance to escape.
"I raised my hand to be a suicide bomber," he said. "If I were a fighter and tried to surrender to security forces they might kill me, with my gun in my hand."
Usaid was passed from one safe house to another, he told the Times, before being woken up, given his vest and a target - a Shiite mosque in the Bayaa neighbourhood of Baghdad.
At dusk he walked up to the mosque gate. "I opened up my jacket and said: 'I have a suicide vest, but I don't want to blow myself up.'," he said.
Dramatic mobile phone footage of Usaid being unclipped from the vest by a plainclothes security officer was quickly shared via social media.
Usaid's extraordinary story, repeated during at least one appearance on state TV, is being told under the supervision of Iraqi officials and could not be independently verified.
It comes as the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed its latest figures for how many people it believes Isis has executed.
Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the monitoring organisation, said Isis has killed 1,878 people in the past six months in Syria alone.
He said that number includes 1,175 civilians, some of whom were women and children, as well as the execution of 583 captive soldiers and opposition militants.