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

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."