By Isabel Hunter and Salem Rizk In Antakya For Mailonline and Photographs By Jodi Hilton On The Turkish-syrian Border
Drawing slowly on his cheap cigarettes, 35-year-old Abu Zakour is hardened as he describes how he employs children as young as nine to stitch the uniforms that end up on the backs of frontline ISIS fighters.
The Syrian boys – and a couple of girls hidden upstairs – are paid a minimum of 40 Turkish lira (£10) a day to stitch, cut and measure out the camouflage material and help their older colleagues piece together the uniforms that get smuggled across the border to rebel groups.
‘My kids are in a school run by an NGO,’ he said, speaking exclusively to MailOnline from his office in the Turkish border town of Antakya. ‘These children could go too but their parents want them to earn money, so what can I do?’
Child labour: A young boy at work making uniforms in Turkey that apparently find their way to Isis soldiers. ‘The only reason that these children work with me is for the money – If there were no war in Syria, these children would be in school—and school would be a much better option for them,’ factory owner Abu Zakour told MailOnline