FIRST AIRED: February 14, 2017

Nice work! Enjoy the show!


You’re busy. We get it.

Stay on top of the news with our Editor’s Picks newsletter.

US Edition
Intl. Edition
Unsubscribe at any time. One click, it’s gone.

Thanks for signing up!



>> Wearing a black vest and a funky beated ring, looks just like any other Iraqi teenager trying to look cool. That is, until he describes how he clutched an assault rifle while manning Islamic State checkpoints with other fighters in Mosul. Now he's one of 54 teenagers imprisoned in this reform center in Iraq's Kurdish north as authorities try to deradicalize them and tease out intelligence about the militants.
He says he didn't join Islamic state willingly.>> My family was in a feud with another one. My father who killed two of their men, it was settling in old school. And then when the Islamic state came, my uncle and cousin pressured me to join. They threatened to give them my whereabouts and said we will let them kill you.
Reuters was given exclusive access to Laith and three other suspected militants at the center. All of them said they were forcibly conscripted. Initially, Laith says, the militants wanted him to become suicide bomber, but he refused. My sister and mother are sick, and my two brothers are sick. I couldn't leave them.
>> He says he tried to quit after 15 days, instead they tortured him for three days as punishment. Reuters can not independently verify the teenager's stories. And one official we spoke with said he doubted they were all forced conscripts. Many Mosul residents have admitted to backing Islamic State when they took the city in 2014.
Initially, regarding them as protectors of Iraq's Sunni minority.>> We try to change their thoughts from abnormal thoughts to love of life and nature and society and their families and their country.>> As Iraq's military pushes deeper into the Islamic state's stronghold, more stories like Laith's are bound to come out.
A generation of youths coming away from years of strife.