(The Intercept) – When Abu Fazel listens to news of the civil war still raging in Syria, he thinks about how he very nearly ended up a foot soldier there. But Abu Fazel isn’t Syrian, nor was he ever a would-be Islamic State fighter. He’s an 18-year-old Afghan refugee, living in the small city of Leverkusen, Germany. He spent most of his life in Iran but fled to Germany, rather than be sent to Syria by the Iranian government to fight on the side of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.