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Syrian Army soldiers at a chekpoint in Damascus in June
Syrian Army soldiers at a chekpoint in Damascus in June
Celine Ahmad

AL-HALBOUNI — Adel, a teenager, worked with his father at their small shop near al-Halbouni, not far from Damascus. By age 17, he had dropped out of school to support his family, as their financial situation grew desperate after years of war.

Adel wasn't a supporter of Syria's government, but that didn't prevent him from being forced to fight on its behalf. He was arrested at one of the army checkpoints in the town of Qudsaiya in the Damascus countryside, then sent off to battle.

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