Around 100,000 children are in peril in beleaguered west Mosul and some have reportedly been killed trying to flee fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State jihadists, which is worsening hour to hour, the United Nations said on Friday.
"An estimated 100,000 girls and boys remain in extremely dangerous conditions in the old city and other areas of west Mosul," the UN's children's charity UNICEF's Iraq representative, Peter Hawkins, stated.
He did not give a specific number for killed children.
"Many (children) are caught in the crossfire and hospitals and other medical facilities have reportedly come under attack," Hawkins said.
Children are being killed, injured and used as human shields and "are experiencing and witnessing terrible violence that no human being should ever witness," Hawkins went on.
"In some cases, they have been forced to participate in the fighting and violence," he said.
UNICEF urged all sides in the fighting in Mosul to respect their obligations under humanitarian law protect children at all times and cease "attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure including hospitals, clinics, schools, homes and water systems should stop immediately.”
At least 26 bodies of "blindfolded and handcuffed" men were found in government-controlled areas and around city since the operation to re-take Mosul from IS militants started in October, US group Human Rights Watch said on Monday.
Fifteen of the men were executed by Iraqi government forces who were holding them on suspicion of being affiliated with IS, raising concerns about government responsibility for the killings, HRW said.