US

UN warns 20,000 children are trapped in Iraq's Fallujah

  • Iraqis gather water in a neighborhood in central Fallujah, Iraq as Iraqi counterterrorism forces battle Islamic State militants on the southern edge of the city on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. A leading aid group raised alarm over the unfolding "human catastrophe" here, where an estimated 50,000 people remain trapped as the fight intensifies and renewed calls on warring parties to open up safe corridors for civilians to flee.(AP Photo)

    Iraqis gather water in a neighborhood in central Fallujah, Iraq as Iraqi counterterrorism forces battle Islamic State militants on the southern edge of the city on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. A leading aid group raised alarm over the unfolding "human catastrophe" here, where an estimated 50,000 people remain trapped as the fight intensifies and renewed calls on warring parties to open up safe corridors for civilians to flee.(AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Smoke rises from a neighborhood in central Fallujah, Iraq as Iraqi counterterrorism forces battle Islamic State militants in the southern part of the city on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. The elite troops repelled a four-hour attack by the Islamic State group in the city's south a day after first moving into the southern edges of the militant-held city with the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. (AP Photo)

    Smoke rises from a neighborhood in central Fallujah, Iraq as Iraqi counterterrorism forces battle Islamic State militants in the southern part of the city on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. The elite troops repelled a four-hour attack by the Islamic State group in the city's south a day after first moving into the southern edges of the militant-held city with the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi counterterrorism forces face off with Islamic State militants on the southern edge of Fallujah, Iraq on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 a day after launching an operation of the militant-held city with the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. (AP Photo/Osama Sami)

    Iraqi counterterrorism forces face off with Islamic State militants on the southern edge of Fallujah, Iraq on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 a day after launching an operation of the militant-held city with the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. (AP Photo/Osama Sami)  (The Associated Press)

The U.N. children's fund has issued a stark warning to Iraqi troops and Islamic State militants to spare the children amid a battle to retake the city of Fallujah city.

UNICEF said on Wednesday that it's concerned for the safety of an estimated of 20,000 children trapped inside this city west of Baghdad as very few families have managed to flee Fallujah since the offensive started more than a week ago.

It also warns they face the risk of forced recruitment by the militants and called on warring parties to "protect children inside Fallujah" and "provide safe passage to those wishing to leave the city."

Fallujah has been under IS control for over two years — the last major city in western Iraq still held by the Islamic State group.