An estimated 100,000 children of Mosul are stuck in the fight between Iraqi forces and the Islamic State, UNICEF said Monday.
The report comes as U.S.-backed government forces are in their final push to rid Old City of Islamic State terrorists.
The United Nations children’s agency is receiving “alarming reports” of civilians, including children, being killed in Iraq, including some caught in crossfire while trying to flee, according to the country’s UNICEF Representative Peter Hawkins. He did not specify the number of children killed.
“Children are being killed, injured and used as human shields. Children are experiencing and witnessing terrible violence that no human being should ever witness,” Hawkins said in a statement. “In some cases, they have been forced to participate in the fighting and violence.”
Hawkins called on those fighting to “protect the children and keep them out of harm’s way at all times, in line with their obligations and humanitarian law.”
Backed by the U.S.-led international coalition to defeat ISIS, Iraq, last October, launched a wide-scale military offensive to recapture Mosul and the surrounding areas. Eastern Mosul was declared liberated in January, and the fight for the city’s western half began the following month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.