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UNICEF: About 35,000 kids have fled Mosul in past 2 months

FILE -- In this Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 file photo, Yousef Oday, 10, who was wounded in the eye by Islamic State militants, is treated by doctors at a clinic in Zahra district in Mosul, Iraq. With little electricity and no running water, Mosul doctors struggle to save civilians on the frontline. While Iraqi forces announce daily advances, the city’s civilians continue to be killed and maimed by indirect fire, clashes and counterattacks. This small clinic inside Mosul estimates it has treated at least 800 severely wounded civilians since over the past month, but without the ability to perform surgery, they say they can only hope to stabilize the wounded. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)

FILE -- In this Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 file photo, Yousef Oday, 10, who was wounded in the eye by Islamic State militants, is treated by doctors at a clinic in Zahra district in Mosul, Iraq. With little electricity and no running water, Mosul doctors struggle to save civilians on the frontline. While Iraqi forces announce daily advances, the city’s civilians continue to be killed and maimed by indirect fire, clashes and counterattacks. This small clinic inside Mosul estimates it has treated at least 800 severely wounded civilians since over the past month, but without the ability to perform surgery, they say they can only hope to stabilize the wounded. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)  (The Associated Press)

The U.N. children's agency says about 35,000 children have fled from Mosul since Iraq's military launched a massive operation to retake the city from the Islamic State group.

UNICEF's representative in Iraq, Peter Hawkins, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that many children who have come out of the eastern part of Mosul where fierce fighting is taking place are "not smiling, they're sad."

Hawkins could not provide an exact figure on how many children have been killed since the operation started on Oct. 17, but he said some of them have been targeted by snipers while they were out in the street to carry water to their homes.

He says that it's important that in the post-Islamic State period to "invest in children's services so this war doesn't continue."