Baghdad, Iraq. There are about 100,000 children trapped in extremely dangerous war conditions in the remaining Islamic State-held enclave in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the United Nations UNHCR has announced today.
The children are being used as human shields by the terrorists or in some cases, have been caught in the crossfire of the battle, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said in their statement.
Children interviewed said some had been forced to take part in the fighting. Hospitals and clinics had come under attack, the UN said.”We are receiving alarming reports of civilians including several children being killed in west Mosul, some were reportedly killed as they desperately tried to flee the fighting which is intensifying by the hour.” Lisser Hartunian stated.
One television news crew reported Saturday saw the bodies of dozens of civilians, including children, lying in a frontline street, apparently killed while fleeing the enclave. The news crew indicated heavy fighting still continues in the area as efforts to evacuate the children are discussed.
The Mosul offensive started last October with air and ground support from a US led international coalition. It has taken much longer than expected as the militants are embeded in the middle of civilians.
The Iraqi government forces involved in today’s fighting, retook eastern Mosul in January and began a new push on May 27 to capture the remaining Islamic State-held enclave on the city’s western side. Estimates of about 700,000 people, about a third of the pre-war population of Mosul, have already fled, seeking refuge either with friends and relatives or in camps.