Puffing on a cigarette, with an AK-47 rifle slung casually on his shoulders, this seven-year-old Syrian boy’s childhood appears well and truly over.

The stark shots show Ahmed, the son of a rebel fighter, standing guard in the neighbourhood of Salahadeen, one of Aleppo’s front lines.

The image comes as the British Prime Minister’s wife was moved to claim innocent childhoods were being “smashed to pieces” by the civil war in Syria.

ahmed son of syrian rebel fighter

Seven-year-old Ahmed, the son of a Syrian rebel fighter puffs on a cigarette while cradling an AK-47

Samantha Cameron was this week visiting refugees fleeing the conflict in neighbouring Lebanon in her role as an ambassador for Save the Children.

During a trip to a clinic for new mothers and pregnant refugees, she said: "As a mother, it is horrifying to hear the harrowing stories from the children I met today. No child should ever experience what they have.

"With every day that passes, more children and parents are being killed, more innocent childhoods are being smashed to pieces."

syrian rebel fighter son ahmed

The child was pictured neighbourhood of Salahadeen, one of Aleppo’s front lines

Save the Children chief executive Justin Forsyth, who accompanied her on the visit, said: "Samantha Cameron's support... helps draw attention to the plight of children caught up in this terrifying conflict.

"Without more help, and quickly, we risk losing a generation of Syria's children."

More than 2 million Syrians are believed to have been forcibly displaced within the country since the crisis erupted two years ago and some 4 million have been affected by it.

In July, War Child said young Syrians were being deliberately murdered in execution-style killings, raped, abused, used as human shields and even enlisted against their will to fight.

samantha cameron syria

Samantha Cameron was in Lebanon as an ambassador for Save The Children

A report said the Syrian conflict was "disturbingly unique" in its deliberate targeting of children, warning that no child was now safe.

The charity urged the UK government to step up efforts to protect children caught up in the fighting, claiming to know of children as young as eight being enlisted as soldiers.

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The UN says an estimated 70,000 people have been killed during the conflict.

Attempts to end Syria's 2-year-old conflict through peaceful means have failed to make progress.

The opposition, including the main Syrian National Coalition, says it will accept nothing less than President Bashar Assad's departure from power while Assad's government has vowed to continue the battle until the rebel forces – which it refers to as terrorists – are crushed.

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  • In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, photo, Syrian rebel fighter, Abbas Awsara, 16, a former student, poses for a picture, following a training session in Maarret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 photo, Syrian rebel fighter, Abdulrahman Zahir, 17, a former farmer, poses for a picture, following a training session in Maarret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, photo, Syrian rebel fighter, Malik Jaafar, 21, a former farmer, poses for a picture, following a training session in Maarret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, photo, Syrian rebel fighter, Mohammed Al-Qassim, 22, a defected soldier, poses for a picture, following a training session in Maarret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 photo, Syrian rebel fighter, known as Abu Rabii, 21, a former farmer, poses for a picture, following a training session in Maarret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 photo, Syrian rebel fighter, Tariq, no last name given, 19, a former student, poses for a picture, following a training session in Maarret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, photo, Syrian rebel fighter, Ayman Alhashim, 26, a former farmer, poses for a picture, following a training session in Maarret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, photo, Syrian rebel fighter, known as Abu Omar, 25, a former money exchanger, poses for a picture, following a training session in Maarret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)


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  • In this Sunday Jan. 6, 2013 photo Syrian rebel fighters take their positions on the frontline of the ongoing battle for the military airport in Taftanaz, Syria. (AP Photo/Mustafa Karali)

  • In this Sunday Jan. 6, 2013 photo, an unexploded ordnance lies half-buried in the ground on the frontline of the ongoing battle for the military airport in Taftanaz, Syria. (AP Photo/Mustafa Karali)

  • In this Sunday Jan. 6, 2013 photo, a Syrian rebel fighter walks through a field on the frontline of the ongoing battle for the military airport in Taftanaz, Syria. (AP Photo/Mustafa Karali)

  • In this Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 file citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows rebels from al-Qaida affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra waving their brigade flag as they step on the top of a Syrian air force helicopter, at Taftanaz air base. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN, File)

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a damaged Syrian air force helicopter at Taftanaz air base, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday Jan. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

  • In this image taken from video obtained from Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, a statue of Hafez Assad, father of Syrian President Bashar Assad, burns after being set on fire by rebel fighters inside the grounds of the General Company of the Euphrates Dam in Al-Raqqa, Syria, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)

  • This image taken from video obtained from Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian fighter jet in a hangar after rebels captured Jarrah airfield in Aleppo province, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)

  • This image taken from video obtained from Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian fighter jet in a hangar after rebels captured Jarrah airfield in Aleppo province, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)

  • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows flames and smoke rising from burned cars after a huge explosion that shook central Damascus, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/SANA)

  • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian fire fighters extinguishing burning cars after huge explosion that shook central Damascus, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/SANA)

  • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a Syrian fire fighter extinguishing burning cars after a huge explosion that shook central Damascus, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/SANA)

  • In this picture taken on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, a Free Syrian Army fighter takes his position at a previous Syrian army forces checkpoint at the main entrance of Christian village of Yacoubieh, in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • A member of the Syrian security forces inspects the heavily damaged Zahrawi souq during a patrol in the old city of Aleppo on February 23, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Free Syrian Army fighters pray inside a cave at Jabal al-Zaweya in Idlib, Syria, Sunday Feb. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • Free Syrian Army fighters take their positions as they observe the Syrian army forces base of Wadi al-Deif, at the front line of Maarat al-Nuaman town, in Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • A Free Syrian Army fighter steps out from a hole wall to observe the Syrian army forces base of Wadi al-Deif at the front line of Maarat al-Nuaman town, in Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • A Free Syrian Army sniper takes his position as he observes the Syrian army forces base of Wadi al-Deif at the front line of Maarat al-Nuaman town, in Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • Free Syrian Army fighters from the Knights of the North brigade move to reconnaissance a Syrian army forces base of al-Karmid at Jabal al-Zaweya, in Idlib province, Syria, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • Free Syrian Army fighters from the Knights of the North brigade leave one of their caves to reconnaissance a Syrian army forces base of al-Karmid, at Jabal al-Zaweya, in Idlib province, Syria, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • Citizen journalism image provided by Coordination Committee in Kafr Susa which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows people tearing down a huge poster of President Bashar Assad and hitting it with their shoes, in Raqqa, Syria, Monday, March. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Coordination Committee In Kafr Susa)