The UN Secretary General's Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, warned on Tuesday that Iraq is on the verge of disaster with the recent advances by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Delivering a televised statement, Zerrougui said this development has created an extremely volatile and dangerous situation for children in Iraq.
Her comments came while she briefed journalists in New York about the UN's latest report on children and armed conflict, focusing on the abuses committed against children in places such as Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria and the Central African Republic. The report covers the year 2013.
Zerrougui noted that the UN has listed ISIS in its annual report since 2011 for recruiting, killing and maiming children, as well as attacking schools and hospitals.
ISIS, aligned with Sunni rebels in Iraq, gained control on 10 June over large areas of the country after the official Iraqi army had left its positions and abandoned its weapons.
Outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has said that all the fighters are "extremist terrorists"; however, Sunnis claim that they are rebels who are fighting for their rights, which have been violated for years under Al-Maliki's rule.