The UN has warned that children are bearing the brunt of the intensified fighting between government forces and the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
Peter Hawkins, representative of the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Iraq, estimated on Monday that 100,000 girls and boys were still living under extremely dangerous conditions in the Daesh-held Old City neighborhood and other areas.
The UN agency is receiving "alarming reports" of civilians being killed, including children, in the city's western half, he added.
The UNICEF representative didn't give a specific number of children killed in the crossfire.
The official called on the warring sides to "protect the children and keep them out of harm's way at all times, in line with their obligations under humanitarian law."
"Children's lives are on the line. 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," he added.
Iraqi government forces, backed by volunteer fighters, are in their last push to drive the Daesh terrorists out of the remaining pockets of territory in the Old City, where narrow streets and a dense civilian population are complicating the fight.
On Monday, Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters wrested full control over 9 villages west of Mosul.
Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units have made sweeping gains against the Takfiri elements since launching the Mosul operation on October 17, 2016.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.