When the gunmen began to slaughter his family, 11-year-old Ali el-Sayed says he fell to the floor of his home, soaking his clothes with his brother’s blood to fool the killers into thinking he was already dead.
The Syrian boy tried to stop himself from trembling, even as the gunmen, with long beards and shaved heads, killed his parents and all four of his siblings, one by one.
The youngest to die was Ali’s brother, 6-year-old Nader. His small body bore two bullet holes — one in his head, another in his back.
“I put my brother’s blood all over me and acted like I was dead,” Ali told The Associated Press over Skype on Wednesday, his raspy voice steady and matter-of-fact, five days after the killing spree that left him both an orphan and an only child.
Ali, the 11-year-old, said his mother began weeping the moment about 11 gunmen entered the family home in the middle of the night after arriving in a military armored vehicle and a bus. The men led Ali’s father and oldest brother outside.
“My mother started screaming ‘Why did you take them? Why did you take them?’” Ali said.
Soon afterward, he said, the gunmen killed Ali’s entire family.