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100,000 children face dangerous conditions in Mosul, says UNICEF

By rbksa

Mon, 2017-06-05 03:00

BAGHDAD: Mosul’s Children are bearing the brunt of the intensified fight between US-backed government forces and Daesh in the city’s western half, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Monday.
Iraqi forces are in their last push to drive Daesh militants from the remaining pockets of territory they still hold in the Old City where narrow streets and a dense civilian population are complicating the fight.
Peter Hawkins, a UNICEF representative in Iraq, said the agency is receiving “alarming reports” of civilians being killed, including children, with some caught in the crossfire while trying to flee. Hawkins did not give a specific number for killed children.
He estimated that 100,000 girls and boys are still in the Daesh-held Old City neighborhood and other areas, living under extremely dangerous conditions. He called on the warring parties to “protect the children and keep them out of harm’s way at all times, in line with their obligations under humanitarian law.”
“Children’s lives are on the line. Children are being killed, injured and used as human shields. Children are experiencing and witnessing terrible violence that no human being should ever witness,” he said in a statement. “In some cases, they have been forced to participate in the fighting and violence,” he added.
Backed by the US-led international coalition, Iraq last October launched a wide-scale military offensive to recapture Mosul and the surrounding areas, with various Iraqi military, police and paramilitary forces taking part in the operation. The city’s eastern half was declared liberated in January, and the push for the city’s western section, separated from the east by the Tigris River, began the following month.
Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, fell to Daesh in the summer of 2014 as the militants swept over much of the country’s north and central areas. Weeks later, the head of extremist group, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, announced the formation of a self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria from the pulpit of a Mosul mosque.

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100,000 children face dangerous conditions in Mosul, says UNICEF


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