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Ahmar Bel Khat Al Areed
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Feb 16 2017
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REPORT: 'Choose life, not death' reform center tells Iraqi teenage militants

publishing date: 16/02/2017 13:19:04
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Wearing funky beads, Laith Abbas comes across as just another Iraqi teenager trying to look cool, until he describes how he clutched an AK-47 assault rifle at checkpoints along with other Islamic State militants who terrorized Mosul.

 

Abbas is one of 54 teenagers Kurdish authorities are trying to de-radicalize at a reform center in the northern city of Dohuk for youths and women suspected of aiding Islamic State.

 

The idea is to prevent the hardline Sunni group from brainwashing a new generation of suicide bombers and fighters into threatening Iraq's stability again after an ongoing army offensive in their stronghold of Mosul ends.

 

''We try to talk to them, to change their mindset from loving death to loving life,'' said Zaki Saleh Moussa, head of the institution in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk.

 

Reuters was given exclusive access to the facility and allowed to speak with Abbas, another 17-year-old boy and two adult women, all in the presence of interrogators.

 

All four prisoners denied that they will fully supported the fighters, and said Islamic State had put pressure on them to cooperate. An interrogator said he was skeptical of those accounts and a court would determine the prisoners' fate.

 

 

REUTERS

 

For more details, watch the full report in the video above

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